Using Google+ For Business: Now And The Future July 24, 2011 by Brett Prince With the Google+ team still working hard on their brand pages for businesses, and Google+’s user base continuing to expand, businesses should begin to develop their Google+ strategy now to take advantage. Google has requested that brands refrain from setting up a business profile, and over the past week we saw those same brand pages get shutdown until the official launch of the new pages. If you do have a profile that you’re using for your business, and it has a solid following, it’s best to change your account details to represent a user rather than your business before Google shuts your account down, as well. It sucks, but don’t worry, Google has assured us that brand pages are coming soon! Using Google+ Circles For Business Circles can be used in a variety of different ways, and the idea of grouping social connections makes communication that much easier and more efficient from an e-customer relationship management perspective. Given the ease of use that Circles provides, adding users in a separate Circle, such as colleagues and professional connections hardly takes any time at all. Not only that, but if you’re proactive with your reputation management online, you will encourage users to communicate with you through a variety of social channels. Google+ seems like the logical social network choice for users to voice concerns, at least in the future, given the potential privacy and the length of message allowed. We still don’t know how Google will allow users to interact with brand pages, but this shouldn’t stop you from expanding your Google+ presence now. Business Related Videoconferencing Via Hangouts So far Google has implied that Hangouts are for something less formal, however given the ease of use and flexibility, there’s no reason that Hangouts couldn’t be used for videoconferencing with professional purposes in mind. As Google continues to expand the business side of Google+, we can expect additional meeting functionality to become available to those who chose to use it for business purposes. When considering how this could be used for meetings, perhaps we will see some scheduling integration with Google Calendar. Apart from meetings, Hangouts could also be used to give consumers the opportunity to join a group chat and discuss products, or even issues they may be having. When we look at the full product integration that Google has been pushing, Google Chat can also be useful for internal team communication. There are many possibilities and applications here. Google Product Integration – Connecting The Dots Many businesses already use Google’s existing products, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. With Google’s inevitable integration of all products, this is becoming a solution that is very attractive to businesses. With Google continuing to rollout the consumer version of Google+, we likely won’t be seeing full Google Apps integration for awhile, but Google clearly has a strategy in mind, and you can more than likely expect tight integration of all these productivity apps. Bradley Horowitz, the VP of Product for Google Apps, has said that the demand for Plus to integrate with Google Apps “is the single biggest bit of feedback we got.” Google has also said that we can expect this to become available in the coming months. The Future Of Google+ A developer has recently discovered some cool functionality within Google+’s source code that points to Google offering a complete meeting solution, including video and voice conferencing, a whiteboard feature, document sharing, screen sharing, and other useful options. This is yet another reason for users to sneak away from Facebook and spend a little more time in the Google+ house.