Google has high hopes for its Google+ social network in the enterprise, with a more corporate-friendly version on the way. The company also continues to slowly open up the API to more third parties, with Flipboard the latest addition to that effort, a company executive said Tuesday at the LeWeb conference in London.
"We think that the enterprise-use case -- everyone from multinational corporations to mum-and-pop businesses -- is a fantastic opportunity for Google and Google+," said Bradley Horowitz, who oversees product management for Google+.
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Enterprises can use Google+ as a "virtual watercooler" or small teams can use Hangouts to communicate, according to Horowitz. The latter allows users to video chat with their colleagues.
Companies are already using Google+ for this, but today there is too much configuration involved, Horowitz said. "I think there is a real market need, and we are focused on it. It is something we definitely going to do," he said.
A key to the success of any social network is the integration of third-party apps. So far, the Google+ API has had a limited availability for developers, with a handful of partners, according to Horowitz. The latest addition to that list of partner companies is Flipboard, which is a social-network aggregator application that presents content in the shape of a magazine. At LeWeb, Horowitz showed "an early" version of the Google+ integration on an iPad, which raised some eyebrows.
For example, users will be able to view their stream and see information from their circles using the standard Flipboard user interface, according to Horowitz.
Google has more social announcements planned for its I/O developer conference, which takes place June 27-29 in San Francisco. "I am excited about I/O," said Horowitz, without delving into the details.
So far, 170 million users have upgraded their accounts to enable Google+, the search giant said back in April.
"I don't think we have hit the hyper-growth phase yet ... there are things yet to be launched that will make a dramatic difference in usage," said Horowitz.
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