“Bit by bit, putting
it together
Every little detail plays
a part
Having just a vision’s no
Everything depends on
— “Putting it Together” lyrics from Steven
Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George

George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,
is huge. At around 7 feet by 10 feet the painting has an enormous presence in
the gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago. Yet when viewed at a distance of
centimeters, you see that Seurat created the painting with thousands of tiny
brush strokes of color.

That’s the essence of pointillism: Up close, we see only
small dots of color. From a distance, a recognizable image emerges.

Google’s approach to the enterprise is “pointillistic:”
each blog post announces a new feature, providing a dot of color. The tech
blogs focus on the feature. Then another feature is launched; another dot.

I think we’re seeing bits and pieces of Larry Page’s vision
of Google and Google+ emerge with each detail. Put together, though, we’re
looking at an image of an increasingly enterprise-friendly organization. Here’s
a quick look at a four recent updates added to the picture.

New admin controls for Hangouts

Google Apps administrators gained greater control over
how people in the enterprise use Hangouts
. Some controls limit
Hangouts. Administrators may now restrict user chats to conversations within
the organization. Voice and video calling may be prohibited. Chat history may
be turned off, as well (although users are able to turn it back on).

Other controls make Hangouts easier to use. It’s now easier
to chat with anyone in the organization thanks to auto-complete access to the
Global Address List. Administrators can also configure chat invitations to be
auto-accepted between users in the organization. Google also improved support
for Hangouts.

To enable and access these new settings, login as an
Administrator to your Google Apps domain at http://admin.googl.com,
then select Google App, then Talk/Hangouts from the list, and choose Sharing

Google enhanced administrative control over Hangouts

Restricted Google+ Communities

People can now create Google+ Communities accessible only
to members of the organization. While community creators have always been able
to restrict access, this makes it possible to use a Google+ Community for
organization-wide discussions. For example, a Community now could be used to
share and discuss Human Resources info across the entire organization.

To create a restricted Community, your organization needs to
have activated Google+ features. (A Google Apps
administrator can then set default Google+ sharing settings.) To create a
new restricted Google+ Community, people should login at http://plus.google.com, select Home, then
Communities from the list, and then select the “Create community”

People can create a Google+ Community accessible only to organization

YouTube videos for the organization

People who use their Google+ domain identity in YouTube
may now make a YouTube video accessible
only to members of the organization. This is useful
for organization-wide information, such as an internal training or news videos.

To share a YouTube video privately, first upload the video
to your YouTube account, then look for the “Privacy Settings”. Choose
“Private”, and then choose your organization’s domain (e.g., mine
displays in the image as “WolberWorks.com”).

Organizational users with Google+ and YouTube accounts can make videos
accessible only to organization members

Cross-platform Google+ Location Sharing

Google recently updated their Google+ iOS app to include
Location Sharing
, which had arrived earlier in the Google+ Android
app. People may choose to share their “pinpoint” location or general
(“city”) location with other domain members. For larger
organizations, this may make it easier for travelers to meet up with
co-workers. It may also make it easier to identify when people are “out of

To enable location sharing with others in your organization,
your organization needs to have enabled Google+ features (as
mentioned above
). Each person needs to install the Google+ mobile
app, either for iOS or Android. After logging in to the Google+ app,
tap the three line menu in the upper left, and tap “Locations” from
the list of menu options. On Android, then tap the Menu and choose “Location
settings”; on iOS, then tap the Sprocket in the upper right, then choose “Settings”.
Once there, turn on Location Sharing and choose with whom to share your
pinpoint or general location.

Enable Google+ location sharing with organization members in iOS or Android

Putting it together: Google is serious about the enterprise

Each of these changes may seem small or even unrelated:

  • New Administrator controls for Hangouts,
  • Google+ Communities and YouTube videos restricted to
    organization members, and
  • Location sharing with organization members from iOS or
    Android devices.

But each piece is a brush stroke that paints a larger
picture: one of a Google intent on providing services useful to organizations.
As the Sondheim lyric in the musical goes “bit by bit, [they’re] putting
it together.”

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