You couldve been forgiven for thinking Google+ had already been consigned to the scrap heap, but news emerged this week that Google was finally shuttering the consumer version of the social product — though only after a major security vulnerability had been found. Fast-forward three days and Google has more Google+ news to share, but this time its pretty much good news. The internet giant has revealed a triumvirate of new features that will be making their way into Google+ for G Suite users within businesses. First up, Google+ users will soon be able to use tags to help fellow employees follow specific topics when they share content across an organization. For example, if youre sharing a research study on customer requirements, Google+ will suggest hashtags to include in the post before you share it. This means colleagues are more likely to find posts that are of interest to them by following a specific tag. We want to make it easier for all employees to engage in conversations across their organization, including deskless workers who want to stay engaged on the go outside of email or chat threads, said Google product manager David Conway, in a blog post. Even if you dont know all employees across an organization, tags makes it easier to route content to the right folks. Elsewhere, Google also announced that it will soon activate a new feature its calling custom streams, whereby admins can create a tailored content stream that allows employees to follow and engage with posts from specific people or on specific topics. Custom streams may include all posts from senior executives, for example, allowing rank-and-file workers to enter discussions on key issues. Or a custom stream may be topic-specific based on a particular tag. Data and metrics are key selling points across G Suite — last month, Google unveiled a new Work Insights tool that reveals G Suite adoption and collaboration rates within a company. In a similar vein, Google+ already offers engagement metrics such as user activity data around Google+ communities. Soon, Google will serve up post analytics so people can see how their content is being received across an organization — if, for example, posts are being read more by people in sales than in marketing. While the timing of this announcement may (or may not) be coincidental, the fact that it comes so soon after the Google+ security palaver from earlier this week is notable, and it serves as a timely reminder from Google that even though Google+ for consumrs is being ditched, its very much alive and kicking in the enterprise.
While rumors of Google+'s eventual shutdown have been circling for a while, Google finally decided to pull the plug on the social network in October 2018, following a bug that led to exposed data for 500,000 accounts. The consumer version is scheduled to be taken offline in August 2019, but the enterprise version for professionals will remain active, and Google just announced a bunch of new updates for it. At the Google Cloud NEXT London event on Thursday, Google officials announced that Google+ for G Suite would be getting new features including tagging, custom streams, and engagement metrics. The goal is to help break down communication silos in customer organizations, as noted in a Google blog post. Tagging is the first attempt at breaking the barriers down. Using standard hashtags, users can tag their conversations with relevant keywords to make them more easily discoverable across the organization, the post said. New tags will be suggested when the user is composing a post. Comparison chart: Enterprise collaboration tools (Tech Pro Research). With the custom streams feature, G Suite admins will be able to define custom streams based on topics and their relevance, the post said. This gives users a less cluttered stream, and the ability to engage more directly with leadership through posts. " Additionally, for customers who store reporting structure in G Suite, we will provide post analytics so individuals can see how their content is being viewed by functions across an organization, like product or sales teams," the post said. With the Google+ update, admins will now be able to see new metrics to measure engagement on posts within Google+ communities owned by employees. The admins will also soon be given the ability to review and moderate employee-created posts as well, according to the post. This feature follows other recent updates including defined permissions and the ability to bulk-add Groups to a Google+ community. Google+ didn't work well as a consumer social media platform, so it makes sense that Google would shutter the service in light of the bug. However, the updates to the enterprise version could point to a possible pivot with Google+ becoming the de facto communication hub for G Suite customers. These feature updates will be rolling out in 2019, and interested companies can sign up for a free two-week trial of G Suite here.