Google announced in late August that it is now offering corporate control features for Google+ to its Google Apps customers at no cost. At least for now. If you are running Google Apps in your company, you can now set up restrictions domain wide on how users are interacting on Google+. Also, users can make restricted posts on Google+, which only members of your domain may see. It’s basically social networking with a pinch of corporate oversight.
To us this sounds a heck of a lot like Yammer and Salesforce Chatter. These products promote social sharing for purposes of employee collaboration, not personal socialization.
These new Google+ efforts are betting more on corporate social networks, not personal networks. So you might think on the surface that Google+ is not targeting Facebook.
However, as we think more about it, we think that Google’s move into corporate social sharing may well be after all a flank maneuver on Facebook. The company-only, restricted posts that Google Apps users are making will show up side by side with the personal posts that everyone is making on Google+. Google seems to be trying to make Google Apps users get comfortable with Google+, because now the corporate employers are going to encourage their employees to use it for business purposes. Pretty clever work, Google!
This is just like how Microsoft came to dominate the desktop operating system market. Get the users used to a product at work, so that they will prefer it when they need to make a purchase at home.
Of course, you don’t pay for social networking, but you do decide where to spend most of your online socializing. Google seems to be betting that a winning battle at the office for social networking will pay off in the battle for social networking supremacy at home.