Google is adding several key new features to its Google+ app for Android to help workers use it in the workplace, including giving users the ability to create and manage multiple accounts for their personal and work lives.
Also being added is a feature that lets Google+ users make restricted posts using their Android devices that can only be received by designated recipients.
The new workplace features were unveiled in an Aug. 14 post by Joel Kalmanowicz, product manager for the Google Apps Team, on the Google Enterprise Blog. The new features are aimed at Google Apps for Business, Government or Education customers, wrote Kalmanowicz, and will be rolling out in the next few days for Android users.
Also being introduced is a Google+ Domains API, which allows Apps customers to integrate Google+ into their existing tools and processes, and allows enterprise software vendors to access Google+ from their applications, wrote Kalmanowicz. The Google+ Domains API was previewed at the May 2013 Google I/O developers conference and is now available to all Google Apps customers.
For users, the new capabilities will make it easier to use Google+ in the workplace, according to Google.
“First, the Google+ app on Android now supports multiple accounts, so you can log in to both a personal and a work account, and easily switch between them as you can in other apps such as Gmail,” wrote Kalmanowicz. “Next, you can now create restricted posts from the Google+ app on Android. Restricted posts can’t be shared outside your organization, so your private conversations are only visible to your co-workers.”
In addition, Google has added domain labels in both the mobile app and on the Web so that users can easily recognize Google+ profiles of other people within their organizations so that they can connect more quickly. The small profile labels indicate a Google Apps user’s domain, which are confidential and visible only to other users in your Google+ domain, according to Kalmanowicz.
Developers can learn more about the Google+ Domains API on the Google Apps Developer Blog and read the documentation on the Google+ developers site, wrote Kalmanowicz. Mobile users who want to begin to use the new features should download the latest Google+ app from the Google Play Store.
Google has been constantly tweaking its Google+ offerings as it continues to try to grow its user base and make it a must-visit destination for enterprise users and consumers who are already deeply entrenched in more mature social networks, including Facebook.
In July, Google launched a new set of Google+ plug-ins that make it easier for Website owners to “connect” with their customers on Google+ by providing a simple one-click means so that visitors can track sites.
In March, Google released reworked versions of its Google+ apps for Android and iPhone users, adding several improved features for photos, posts, user profiles and user communities. Highlighting the iPhone app improvements were photo-enhancement features from Snapseed, which allow users to perform basic edits such as rotating and cropping images, as well as using photo filters on their images before sharing them with others.
Google Adds New API for Google+ Workplace Features
In February, Google+ unveiled app improvements that made it easier for users to access their other online iOS and Android apps more seamlessly and quickly through a new Google+ sign-in feature that allows users to tie their Google+ sign-in process to the sign-in processes for their most-used non-Google apps on their desktops or mobile devices.
Google+ has been around since June 2011, when it was started by the company as an online offering to compete with Facebook, or at least to give Google a piece of the social networking pie. Users were able to share events and news online with others in their “circles,” then connect with others in their friends’ circles, too.
In December 2012, Google introduced deeper social media features for its Google+ service by adding online communities where people can meet, discuss and share their passions on a wide variety of subjects, from sports to collecting to cooking and more. The new online communities included all kinds of interest groups, from cars to books to gardening and more. The communities can be set up to be open to anyone on Google+, or they can be private groups closed to the general public.
In August 2012, Google+ added some innovative tools for enterprises to try to bolster the appeal of Google+ for business users. The new Google+ features gave business users the ability to control who can see their posts on Google+, video conferencing that’s integrated with other Google Apps, and new administrative controls over posts and who can view them.
“The Google+ Follow button is a standalone plug-in that—as you might expect—lets visitors follow you from your site,” wrote Raj Iyengar, product manager of Google+, in a June 28 post on the Google+ Platform Blog. “It’s nice and compact, so it integrates easily with your existing social buttons.”
For developers who have already added the +1 button for Google+ to their sites, no new coding is required to add the new plug-in, wrote Iyengar. “Just configure the plug-in, add the markup to your page, and you’re all set.”
In addition, other new ways to attract visitors and followers to Websites were also unveiled by Google, including new badges for Google+ Communities to help customize a site’s appearance online, Iyengar wrote. “The new badges are highly configurable, making it easy to match your site design.”
The new badges will replace existing badge designs over time, but the old badges will continue to exist for up to 90 days, giving developers time to configure new badges for their Websites, he wrote. “After 90 days, we’ll automatically upgrade any Google+ badges to the new design.”