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Can CIOs learn to love Google+?

CIO Jury: The network the enterprise has been waiting for or just another social burden?

Google recently relaunched itself into the social media market with the announcement of its Google+ service, but technology executives are split as to whether they really need yet another social network to worry about.

Google's new social networking project is built around five core features: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle. These features allow users to connect with people they know, share content, follow updates on particular subjects of interest and even take part in group video chat.

Google+ icons

Do CIOs really have the time to get the hang of Circles, Hangouts, Instant Uploads, Sparks and Huddles?Image: Google/silicon.com

Google is also making some attempts to woo enteprises to its latest social offering, promising the launch of corporate accounts soon and using car maker Ford as a guinea pig for the business use of Google+.

While Google+ is still early in its beta testing, it already has 25 million users. Even so, in the social media world it's tiny - Facebook has over 750 million users, Twitter around 175 million and LinkedIn is now well past the 100 million mark.

So has Google+ been welcomed with open arms by CIOs or is it just another social burden of monitoring and updating? silicon.com's CIO Jury was evenly split on the issue when asked, 'Will you or your organisation be experimenting with Google+?'

"We monitor all social networks, looking for those that attain a sufficient critical mass of the right user demographic to be of interest to monitor customer sentiment, or be a source of other business intelligence," said Stephen Potter, CIO at World-Check.

"Google+ is not there yet but its take-up has been impressive and there is a lot of buzz around it so we'll continue to monitor and experiment," he said.

For Linda Webster, head of IT at law firm Wedlake Bell, the site may have more enterprise potential than some other social networks.

"A couple of us have set up personal accounts but at first glance it looks like it might be a more manageable tool for business than Facebook," she said.

Alan Bawden, operations and IT director at The JM Group, is also planning to experiment but doesn't believe Google+ is likely to dislodge the other enterprise favourite, LinkedIn, any time soon.

"We will experiment with it but until there is a way to link it to your Facebook contacts and LinkedIn contacts it will have a way to go. Will it replace LinkedIn for us as a business? I think the chances are slim to none for the foreseeable future."

For some CIOs, however, social media is still yet to prove itself, regardless of the site.

Mike Tonkiss, IT director at Neopost, said: "For manufacturers such as ourselves the value of social media is somewhat hard to quantify."

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com.

About

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

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