Really, I continue to wonder what Google is waiting for. The enterprise social business space is pretty much virgin and a sure winner for a company the likes of Google. Google needs to extend Gmail beyond what we currently have. Sure we have very solid companies already operating very well in this space, like Jive and Yammer but they ain’t no Google.
Amongst all the giant tech companies, Google looks best positioned to really dominate this space should they decide to get in. Linkedin and maybe Microsoft too, Microsoft have a very extensible product in sharepoint but they don’t own a social network.
Google was able to successfully deployed its’ Google Apps for business suite to the masses and being a personal user of the service, I simply adore it. However with the way the social media space continues to shape, I begin to feel Google is missing out on a really big thing here. I want more for my business.
Google did fail at some attempts at “being social” with Buzz and Wave but have hit the jackpot on their third attempt with Google +. Integrating Google + major feature for business collaboration is really a no brainer., Hangout, Circles and Docs are amazing for business .
Google Apps is missing really enterprise social capabilities. I know you can enable Google + for your domains and enjoy the full benefit of Google + for your business, I still feel, it’s not properly positioned for businesses. The guys at Google are definitely aware of this and why they continue to do nothing about this beats me. A major extension to the way Google + works for businesses would really be a massive thing for the industry. Businesses need their business tools to be more segregated from public use, the level of integration Google + has with the public portal is way to much for certain businesses to consider it as a truly business tool. It needs to be separated.
Companies want privacy. The way Google + is now enabled for business isn’t as detached as most businesses would like. Rather than just threads, Google + should be able to work based on projects or jobs as well, think of Basecamp. It needs to be able to be tied very closely to the structure of the business that is using it. It should automatically recognize groups and organizations within the domain,
By integrating a solution that extends the social business capabilities of plain regular Gmail to that of Google +, Google could really have a winner on their hands.
Microsoft could present one-challenge for Google with its cloud based share point solutions but I feel it’s a little too clunky to get along (my opinion). Apple doesn’t seem to have social in their blood as they have failed at pretty much all attempts to launch a social infrastructure. CEO Tim Cook recently claimed Apple didn’t need to own a social network but did need to be a social business. I don’t even want to talk about Facebook because as a business, I consider them to be a joke, they just can’t seem to make money, they can make users which should necessarily count as social capital which they should be able to translate into money but that’s not just happening for Facebook, go ask Facebook investors, from just a few months ago when the company went public, they have lost a whooping 40% of their value.
Linkedin is another company that could be considered in this my line up. They are properly the most “serious” business social networking platform out there, extending into an enterprise social platform would seem like a logical evolution for them and because of their current model, everyone would take them seriously. They however have not shown any desire to make such a move. Linkedin has been pretty slow with innovation, they are pretty much satisfied with where they are and are more concerned with their users upgrading to paid accounts than doing something game changing. To be able to play in the enterprise social business space, Linkedin would need to really innovate, their current mode of operations could make it very tricky. but it can be done.
Here lies the opportunity for Google, they are more or less designed from the bottom up as a social business, Google + has gained wide adoption in Nigeria, I use my Google + account more than I use my Facebook account because I love the flexibility it gives me, why not extend this to businesses. The Google marketplace does offer a number of extensions that helps business achieve some level of social business capabilities that ties in with your domain account on Google Apps but it’s really not the same thing.
As a consultant, I have seen how plain old Gmail for businesses has been able to promote a social spirit within the organization, extending this with a more enterprise inclined social platform would work wonders. In other words Google can help make businesses more social, simple.
Google says they want to continue to offer “magic” solutions for their business users, they want to continue to wow their users, one sure way for them to do this is to really focus on more integrated collaboration tools for businesses. Google is doing so much for businesses with all it bouquet of cloud offerings.
I love Google and I know they will do the right thing for businesses and themselves.
Watch out Yammer and Jive !!!!!!!!!