Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Google keen to put new social network in business circles

Nick Leeder. Photo / Supplied
Nick Leeder. Photo / Supplied

Google will launch a business version of its new social network Google+ within the next year, says the company's Australasian boss.

Google+ aims to challenge social networking giant Facebook and has had 15 million visits since it opened to the public on September 20.

An invitation-only version of Google+ went live on June 28 and has received more than a million visits teach week.

The distinguishing feature of Google+ is the ability for users to compartmentalise others into "circles" - such as friends, family or work.

This "enterprise" version of Google+ would simplify the way employees could share information, said Google's Australia & New Zealand managing director, Nick Leeder.

"If you've got a company that wants to create an internal social network, everyone from the company [working on a particular issue] around the planet can form a circle," he said.

"One of the big challenges companies have is how to connect staff and share news and allow them to collaborate across geographies. Most companies need to get better at sharing intellectual property around internally and social networking actually does that incredibly well."

Google+ would also allow businesses to directly target different groups of customers and control what messages they sent to those in different circles, Leeder said.

The network's circles systems allow users to control and direct whom they share online information with.

Users can post a video or photo to other users in their friend circle, and those in work or family circles are unable to see it.

Alternatively, people can be sorted into multiple circles and posts can be shared with numerous circles at once.

Google+ for business follows the company's trend of offering a free, consumer version of a product and a premium version for commercial customers.

Google offers other applications for business including email, online word-processing, spreadsheet software and data storage.

"Gmail is a classic example where as a user you can get a free account but there are versions for business which are more developed and have added functionality and disk space and they come with a price," Leeder said.

New Zealand Post was one of Google's biggest local clients paying for its services.

- NZ Herald

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