How Google Spaces Makes Collaboration the Focus of Social Media

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Google Spaces Makes Collaboration the Focus of Social Media
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    How Google Spaces Makes Collaboration the Focus of Social Media

    While pitched primarily as a consumer product, Google Spaces has value as a business tool for remote users who need to stay in touch and collaborate on projects.
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    Yes, It's Another Social Collaboration App
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    Yes, It's Another Social Collaboration App

    Google's depiction of Spaces as a "group sharing" application is just another way of saying it's a collaboration app. The platform allows users to share a variety of Internet content, personal video clips and much more. Along the way, users can comment on them and keep a running dialogue to stay in contact. It's no Slack, by any means, but it could eventually inch toward that level of collaboration and sophistication.
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    This Could Be an Enterprise Tool
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    This Could Be an Enterprise Tool

    Google has pitched Spaces as a consumer product first, but that doesn't mean that it can't be used in the enterprise. Spaces could be used by small teams that need to collaborate on a project and want to bring in different resources from the Web, from a user's social network or from various corporate departments to get work done. Google's platform is agile enough to handle all kinds of uses, including the typical team collaboration done every day in enterprises.
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    It's All About Sharing Content
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    It's All About Sharing Content

    Sharing content is central to the Spaces experience. Users can work their way around the Internet to find topics of interest and share those with others. Users can then converse about the topic next to the shared content, so they all know to what they're referring.
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    Google's Services Are Built In
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    Google's Services Are Built In

    Like its many other platforms, Google's services are built into Spaces. So, when users try to find content online, they need to query Google Search. In addition, the app offers the ability to search YouTube for videos and even includes a bundled Chrome browser.
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    Google Will Refine the Design Based on User Experience
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    Google Will Refine the Design Based on User Experience

    It's important to remember that Spaces is currently a first-run product. That means that as time goes on, Google will be adding new features. It also means that there could be some quirks that will annoy users at the onset. Google will no doubt refine the design of Spaces based on users' reports. It should really be considered a beta product at this stage.
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    The Search Feature Will Be Useful
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    The Search Feature Will Be Useful

    One of the most important features built into Google Spaces might be its search tool. The feature will be capable of going back in time to look for relevant content around a specific topic. So, if users were discussing a film, a book or any conceivable product, Google will surface that conversation and any other relevant content. It's a handy way to find relevant content and research to keep a project going or to support a project.
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    Google Makes It Easy to Invite Others
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    Google Makes It Easy to Invite Others

    Google has delivered several ways to invite users to a space, including by sharing a link to a group via Facebook. Users can also ping other Google users and share a URL on other social media platforms, forums or any app where links are supported.
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    Here's Hoping for More App Integration
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    Here's Hoping for More App Integration

    For now, Google Spaces is a decidedly Google-focused product, but it's possible that if it's successful, other companies will want to integrate their platforms into the service. Hopefully Google will open its API at its Google I/O Conference this week and make it easy for developers to bring some of their creations to Spaces to expand its features.
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    Right Now It's a Basic Service
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    Right Now It's a Basic Service

    It's important to note that Google Spaces is—at least for now—a basic application compared with some of the other group sharing services available. Spaces lets users find content through Google, share it and talk about it. But it doesn't come with the aforementioned third-party apps or high-powered features like bots. It's also not an intelligent platform that can present Internet-based content based on a current topic. Hopefully those features will come in future versions.
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    Here's Where You Can Find Spaces
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    Here's Where You Can Find Spaces

    To its credit, Google didn't limit Spaces to Android or Chrome. Instead, the service is available as a free download to iOS and Android. Google also offers a desktop Spaces app and allows users to access the platform from the browser. The service is, however, only available to Gmail account holders, so those who don't have an account will be out of luck.
 

Google launched its latest attempt to achieve a breakthrough in the social networking market on May 16 with a collaboration application called Google Spaces. The app, which is available on the desktop and mobile devices, is designed for small groups to share content and communicate either socially or as work teams. While Google has pitched the service as primarily a consumer product, it is clear that Spaces would have value for business users in different locations who need to stay in touch and collaborate on projects. The introduction shows that Google is determined to make another effort to create a sustainable niche in the social networking field. The company's earlier effort in the social networking field, Google+, has failed to achieve the growth of vastly larger established services, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This time Google is changing tack by allowing users to create their own communities. Google's view is that the best way to create collaborative communities is by sharing content through the Spaces interface. This slide show highlights the key features that Google hopes will win users over to its vision for online collaboration. 

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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