Will Google+ live on for enterprise?

As Google+ sees its expiry date for consumers expedited, could it see a new lease of life in enterprise?
12 December 2018

Google’s social network could see a new lease of life, Source: Shutterstock

Google is to shut down its long-ailing social network Google+ much earlier than planned, as it revealed a second bug had the potential to compromise data belonging to more than 50 million users.

The bug, which would allow software developers to view information on users profiles—including usernames, email addresses, occupations and ages— not marked as public, came as part of a software update in November.

It follows the search giant’s announcing in October that it had “discovered and immediately patched” a bug in the Google+ API which led to 500,000 accounts being similarly compromised.

That led to a further statement of intent to sunset the social network given an overall lack of use and success— 90 percent of users’ sessions had lasted less than five seconds, for example.

Google+ will now be shutting down for consumers in April next year, some four months earlier than initially planned, while developer access to the API will be shut down within three months.

For its enterprise users, however, the plan is a little different. Google claims its businesses on its network still enjoy “great value” from the platform; its G Suite subscribers have adopted Google+ as an intranet alternative and application for internal messaging.

The rise of Google+ Enterprise?

The company says business users are still getting value in the platform in managing internal discussions; moderating and reviewing employee posts; measuring community engagement, and defining customer streams that contain communications related to a particular subject.

Indeed, and as noted by industry press, the enterprise version of Google+ “is not a zombie project”, having announced new features in October (the same month it announced its first bug), which included tagging, custom streams, and engagement metrics. Google plans to roll out additional new features as early as this week.

Whether enterprise customers can be assured that the service is getting the attention from Google it so clearly needs, however, is up for debate. Following October’s announcement, the company said it would be implementing tighter security controls and policies across its APIs “in the coming months”.

However, while the latest revelation would suggest progress has tentative in this regard, Google said it would roll out more granular controls for users to authorize or deny the use of their data by third-party apps when logging into Google’s wider set of services.

Meanwhile, apps would have to show each requested permission, one at a time, with their own dialogue box. If your enterprise is already subscribed to G Suite but you’ve yet to sample Google+, now could be the time to dip your toe into the water. With Google shifting its focus to resurrecting some real return out of the demise of its social network on the consumer side, some smart new features and functionality could be on the horizon.