Google announced the launch of some new business-specific Google+ features today. These include private sharing for within the organization, video meetings integrated with Gmail, Calendar and Docs, and some admin controls.
The features are only available in preview mode right now, for Google Apps customers.
"Google Apps users now have more control over the content they post to Google+," says Google Apps Product Management Director Clay Bavor. "When you create a post you can mark it as restricted. Restricted posts are private to your organization and can never be re-shared with anyone outside. At the same time, when you create a post, you have the flexibility to share it with specific partners or colleagues outside the organization as well if you choose."
"When you’re on Google Apps, holding a face-to-face meeting with colleagues or clients around the world doesn’t require coordinated travel schedules or expensive video conferencing technology," says Bavor. "All you need is a device with a camera and an internet connection. Hangouts lets up to 10 people join a video meeting from their laptop, phone or tablet."
Bavor notes that people can join multi-way video Hangout-powered chats from Gmail, as Google recently announced, and that docs can be opened and edited. Users will also be able to add a hangout to a Calendar event, he says.
Google's Matt Cutts said in a Google+ post that the new features "might look small, but are actually pretty huge."
"First, with Google Apps you can now restrict posts so that it only goes to people within a company," he said. "This lets you set up a corporate social network like Yammer, Chatter, etc. We use this feature all the time and we have a vibrant Google+ community inside of Google too."
"The second feature lets you add a video hangout as a direct link in Google Calendar," he added. "Google has offices all over the world, so we use this feature a ton as well. If you have a distributed company, you'll want to try this new feature."
During the preview period, Apps customers will be able to use the features for free through the end of 2013. In the meantime, Google says it will be adding more features and admin controls.