Google today rolled out new features for Google+ that let businesses create communities that are restricted only to members from the business.
The feature enables the kind of groups customers of Jive or Yammer use for collaboration. The new Google+ capabilities are very stripped down by comparison but might indicate the direction Google’s going.
In a blog post, Michael Cai, product manager at Google+, wrote that organizations now can set up communities that are restricted only to users within the organization. Users can decide if the community will be open to anyone at the company or invite only. An admin can set restricted communities as the default.
Anyone, even within a business, could create a community previously, but restricting it to members only from your business is new. That could make some businesses more open to using Google+ to facilitate collaboration in groups that are working on projects that they want to ensure stay private.
Members of communities can do things like share files including videos and photos from Google Drive.
Services like Jive and Yammer aim their collaboration services directly at businesses and include many more bells and whistles. However, when you start to think of all the services that Google offers, like Hangouts, Gmail, Calendar, and Drive, you can see how Google might piece together a competitive offering. With even more controls that let businesses further customize the services workers see and how they can use them, Google could end up with an attractive and competitive collaboration platform. The existing collaboration service providers should take note.