You know that meeting that you need to have with your far-flung team members? Google+ has upped the security of its groups, hoping to attract such business meetings.
On Tuesday, the technology giant announced the enhancement. On Google’s Official Enterprise Blog, Google+ Product Manager Michael Cai wrote that, “at most organizations, it’s important to make sure that private conversations remain private.” He added that “Google+ is an ideal tool for groups to want to have social conversations -- without broadcasting their thoughts to the world.”
In these new restricted groups, which Google said now have “an extra layer of security," participants can decide if the meetings are open to anyone at a given company or can only be joined by invitation.
Restricted communities can be set up as default choices by administrators, and others outside organizations, such as clients, agencies or business partners. If the admin console is set to restrict sharing, the Google+ community is restricted to the group domain unless set otherwise. A private community can then share files, media and other material on Google Drive, and everything posted within a community stays in the community.
There are, of course, countless ways these days to set up social, collaborative spaces for use by organizations, including those with private participation, such as Salesforce.com's Chatter, as well as Yammer, Socialtext, Jive, Podio and many others. But a private meeting space from Google becomes an easier segue because of the already-widespread use of the company’s services and apps in many businesses, including search, Gmail, Google Maps, Adwords, and, increasingly, Google+.
Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, told us that businesses need to be wary about exactly what level of private sharing they intend to do in an online meeting environment. He pointed out that “businesses may not be all that confident in Google’s ability to keep information private,” given revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been getting confidential information from Google and the Chinese have hacked the company’s sites.
‘No Worse’ Than Others
But, he noted, Google is “no worse than anyone else” in terms of security. If businesses are fine with not sharing their most valuable secrets in these kinds of sharing spaces, he said, the available level of security is probably fine.
Google’s effort to provide private meeting spaces is only the most recent in a series of overtures to the business community. It has been promoting Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Drive for businesses, especially those in the small-to-medium range. And in August of last year it launched its first set of Google+ features specifically designed for businesses. These included restricted posts that are private to an organization and not shared with outsiders, as well as multiple user video chats in Google+ Hangouts, reached directly from Gmail.