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There were multiple Google+ announcements today (What's Hot, Ripples, Creative Kit), so this news about Google Apps seems to have been lost in the excitement... Google+ announced Google Apps integration today!

Though I expected Google to integrate Google+ into everything Google does, I did not expect this "Google Apps" integration. Why didn't I expect it? Because I didn't even know "Google Apps" exists! Apparently Google Apps is a more focused & integrated set of Google's tools that most of us know about (docs, email, calendar, groups) and it's used for free and in for pay deployments by schools, businesses and collaborative teams. I'm curious, are there any Google Apps users out there reading right now?

Its not hard to imagine how something like G+ could be useful for collaborative groups. And one of the biggest problems of working in a large company is making sure everyone knows where everyone else is on projects that inter-connect. More specifically, the toughest issue with "tracking" or "collaborative" software is that you usually can't get your employees to use the software! Everyone starts out trying to be a good corporate citizen by using the new software they've been given, and gradually they go back to their old ways of connecting and discussing their work. Will Google Apps with Google+ be any different? I think it could be.

A few months ago, I wrote about how Google+ will spread itself into different properties Google owns (Gmail, Youtube, Blogger, etc.) to grab more and more market share over time. I theorized that Google+ would also be successful in "re-activating" users who signed up early to Google+ but don't login regularly. As Google+ starts showing up in more places, they can draw users in to see new things as they launch. That G+ post was turned into an article for The Next Web. You can read it here: http://tnw.co/qBXCOh

Since I didn't know about Google Apps, this is not one of the areas I was thinking about when I wrote that article. But as for picking off "subgroups" of Google's larger audience, this Google Apps integration makes perfect sense. If Google has an installed base of small, active, collaborative teams using their productivity software, that's a great "niche" market to bring into the Google+ fold. It's an obvious strategy for a company in Google's position facing big competitors like Twitter & Facebook, but it's particularly significant because it's something that can actually work for Google. (This strategy would be very difficult for smaller competitors without the breadth of services and reach that Google has.)

Even more exciting is that G+ is really just so usable that I can actually imagine groups/teams giving G+ a fair shake and really sticking with it. In short, good move Google -- bravo! I hope the G+ development team and management starts using the Google App productivity software themselves... that'll probably be the best way for the "Apps/G+" integration to get better and succeed over the long term.

PS. I got sick while on my trip to SF and am currently quite ill, so sorry if my ideas are muddled. It's been difficult for me to concentrate. :-)
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112 comments
Chan Li
 
become a vampire ,Tom !
btw , where is the new google reader ?
 
Actually I was so excited over Google Apps integration (although I don't use it) I completely missed the other two announcements until a few hours ago!
 
What is your favourite new addition Tom? PS Google Apps is totally awesome. Was all I ever used when I started my own company.
 
Yes..I've been waiting for this. I'm in the process of moving everything over to my apps domain account right now.
 
I love google apps. I actually learned about Doc's from my mom (odd she's teaching me something lol). She works for a local school dept and the whole school dept uses google apps/docs, it blew my mind when she showed me. <3 Google
 
I'm already all over these new features. Just participated in the Halloween contest with other Google+ users a #gplushalloween.
 
I just think g+ is the next great social networking site!
 
Tom...all of Google runs on Google Apps...and has done for ages :)
 
Eventually the whole Google system will end up looking like "Wave". It was a good idea in the first place, just has to be released in bits so that people can get their heads around it. :D
 
Google Apps has been around for ages.
 
This was the big one I was waiting for +Tom Anderson! w00t! now if only my android app would connect successfully to my apps account. :-/
 
Google apps is awesome... being able to use custom domains with all the google products i know and love is awesome! I have my whole family setup on my google apps domain.
 
+Robbie Coleman I'm having the same problem as you with the android app.. hope it starts working soon!
 
+Tom Anderson An instance of G+ has been running inside Google even before G+ was rolled out to the world and thats where a lot internal discussions happen. A lot of people who jumped to conclusion that Steve Yeggi made the error of posting his internal rant to the world because privacy model of G+ is hard to understand---not true. It was this internal instance of G+ that in intended to post it to and but he confused the internal Google G+ instance with the public world G+. So yes, G+ team has already been using the G+ for collaboration/internal discussions :)
 
+Amit Prakash Thanks for the info ; I was going to mention Yeggi's in that suggestion of dog-fooding at the end. But I'm a bit confused about what you're saying -- is the Google team actually using Google Apps, or just Google+ to communicate / collaborate? (You didn't mention Google Apps in your comment there... and btw, for what it's worth. As a set of fresh eyes looking at the Google Apps page, it's not real clear what it does / what it's for, why someone would use it. I think I get it, but I bet if that page were made clearer, Google would do a lot better at attracting more users to the Google App product.)
 
Google apps for edu is a huge gift (free $50/user/year value). Locking down student email to within the domain only is just one feature that makes it safer looking and appealing for use with k-12
 
I use Google apps for my start up blog, my Web Design company uses Google Apps, and my friend's college, VCU, and his high school use Google Apps for every student's email. Essentially every student on campus has a gmail account.
 
Only just started playing with Google Apps myself, but rolling G+ functionality into it has a hell of a lot of potential. If I'm reading it right, you can replicate the kind of whiteboard functionality that Project Managers like, push instructions to departments or roles using the circling ability... Lots of potential.
 
+Brian Weaver Please tell us more about what it is / how it works... the intro website has a lot of corporate speak. Not easy to get through to the meat of the matter on there :)
 
I use it at work, our entire school system does. I already have my students on G+ because I wasn't sure how long it would take to come to Apps. Glad to know that maybe now the rest of the district will jump on board our Google bandwagon!
 
Tom think of all of Google's services that you know and love as a Google user. These are the same set of options available to corporate customers with the Google Apps suite. The most popular features initially for corporations is email and docs, so you can use gmail but with your own @company.com domain name. It's tempting for a lot of IT departments not to have to manage their own Exchange server anymore, and especially popular for smaller businesses that can't afford a full time IT department.
 
A few days ago the Apps page appeared when I went to sign into gmail... that's always the early warning you get from Google something's about to happen [chamge].
 
The new updates and announcements are exciting, my favorite is the photo editor (so far), I am unclear what the Google Apps is for despite having a look. BTW +Tom Anderson I hope your feeling better soon ;)
 
+amylynn arrington unfortunately its not available for k-12 so hopefully you are higher ed.
 
I'm a Google Apps user, but this account is not, since I'm still waiting for the migration tool so I'll be able to migrate this account's data to my Google Apps account.
To know that the wait is almost over, is amazing. I've been waiting very long for me to be able to join with my primary account (my Apps account). There are still several features not available for Google Apps users. For instance I can not have a YouTube account since I'm located in Denmark. This is a step in the right direction by giving all us Apps users Google+ access.
 
+Brian Weaver What G+ or Google Apps? Cause I know a high school that uses Google Apps and has all their students on gmail.
 
+Tom Anderson Sorry for not being clear. The internal G+ instance is not really same as G+ for google apps, but provides the same functionality that you can collaborate/share with everyone within the organization. For example, I can make a public post there and its just visible to folks inside google.
 
+Amit Prakash Makes sense, but Google Apps is something different entirely, right? I'm hoping the G+ team actually starts using some of the software in the way a user of the Google Apps product would, since that'd just help to improve and properly implement the great idea of integrating the two :)
 
+Tom Anderson I cannot believe you did not know about Google apps! They have been kicking microsoft''s ass for years on the academic institutions and on many businesses ...especially start-ups
 
+michael sulsenti g+. I am extremely familiar with g apps for edu
 
+Rella Sinclair Thanks ! Sounds like we're on the same page .. and I got an email notification of you defending me before that post was deleted... I never did see what it was about.. but thanks for that as well. And I agree with you that when people criticize that tends to tell you much more about the person doing the criticizing than the thing they're complaining about... :-)
 
ok, not an "apps" user, so don't really care too much about that. But what are "what's hot, ripples, & creative kit"??
 
+Duarte Molha Yes, the more I'm reading here, the more its obvious I had a huge blind spot. I haven't been in school for so long and we used Outlook back at MySpace (it was a pain, to be sure..) I'm starting to see what this product really is (a corporate email replacement) and it makes perfect sense to me now how Google would want to gradually take that away from Microsoft and how valuable this can be for Google+ ... This is really a big "back door" to growth that I haven't really seen people talk about before they announced it. I wonder what other areas Google is involved in that they could be mobilizing around for Google+. Intriguing. You sly dog, +Vic Gundotra ;-)
 
+Tom Anderson I have no doubt it will be. I am a University student and I know that I find Google+ perfectly suited for my needs and goals. I have yet to find my voice here, but it is incredible knowing that I can have one...there is wisdom in watching and learning for while. I am certain that most will feel exactly the same. Google Apps just tips the scale...
 
I Love Google Apps having introduced several community groups and a few start ups to the free version. On a side note +Tom Anderson I hope you start feeling better.
 
Tom = fail...... How could you not know Google apps didn't exist? It's huge and many millions of users world wide. Google talks about it often. 
 
+Robbie Coleman +Tyler Lane the mobile web version works fine with your Google Apps account (it's actually really cool), native app support will be here very soon.
 
+Tom Anderson; I'm very sorry to hear you're unwell and wish you a speedy recovery – take good care of yourself and don't overdo things!

To the point: I'm not a Google Apps user myself (though I use Gmail and Docs etc.,) but I've read posts and comments from a lot of people who've felt either impatient or frustrated that they were 'locked out' of G+, simply by virtue of being G. Apps registered users. Those who have been using G+ had to create a second Gmail account in order to get in here, so I'm sure that they'll be relieved and delighted to finally be able to use just the one sign-in.

I'm off now to check out the rest of today's Google feature launches!
 
+Tom Anderson well wow I didn't think you'd hear or know about that. Your very welcome. Get well soon ;)
 
Interesting they list the University of Washington as a participant. I am a student at the U of W. While we do use gmail, if we go to G+ while logging in, this is the message we get:
Google+ is not available for your organization. Please contact your administrator to enable this service.
 
+Tom Anderson Apps is also highly frequented in use by private folks that want email under ther own domain without bothering to run a mailserver, webmailinterface etc on their own.
The main restriction up to today was that if you used Apps to host your maildomain, mailadresses within this domain weren't eligible to register a G+ profile. So as a lucky Apps customer, you had to sign up for another gmail to be able to use G+.
 
+Ben Kubilus, that's because G+ doesn't support GoogleApps yet. Your gmail account from UW is using GoogleApps. Based on this announcement, expect it to work in the future IF the organization turns it on.
 
I love google Apps. I use it on all of my domains
 
Never mind, it was the word "beginning" that I missed. My bad.
 
Google Apps is a great way for schools to provide collaborative tools such as Docs seamlessly with basic offerings like mail and calendar to their students. It was just recently that Google Apps opened up to access other great Google consumer tools such as youtube, reader, picasa, and others. The addition of Google+ is a awesome addition to students, it better aligns their everyday activiites.
 
+Ben Kubilus you are right, the domain admin at UW just needs to flip the switch on that we made available to them today
 
I may have missed this, but does this mean there are G+ Brand pages now?
 
+Roger Cummings , assuming your school gets the full package, which they don't yet (which I just learned, myself). Emphasis on the yet.
 
best wishes for a speedy recovery, +Tom Anderson i hope you feel better soon...you know what they say, a massage a day keeps the illness at bay. okay i made that up but it's true. feel good. :) thanks for the share...ten zillion possibilities here w/google apps (i like live music jam sessions w/hangouts) and i feel your prediction about this being google's back door to growth is right on. i hope to see it happen!
 
I'm sure others have voiced this, but I've been using GApps solely so I can have a custom domain for my email but still use GMail. I've spent the last half hour or so "rebuilding" my G+ profile here in my new GApps account.
 
Tom, I LOVE my google calendar and could not maintain my busy life as we know it without it. I use Docs on a regular basis, too. As a writer it's very important for me to be able to share my documents with other folks so that my mistakes can be caught by a more experienced eye, grant you I don't just share my work willie nillie, but I do share it. :)
 
+Andrew Palm I knew about all the "parts" (i.e. Docs, groups, calendars) but was not aware of the suite of services offered to universities / businesses, replacing your email domain, etc. Guess I never had a need to know :) +JP Powers Fun idea ... Thanks +Kataliya Rudolph :)
 
+Tom Anderson According to Sergey Brin (Web 2.0 Summit), 5 million businesses use Google Apps (their website still states 4 million). 5000 sign up every day. He hasn't broken down the number of free vs. paid subscriptions.
 
+Ben Kubilus I have access to pretty much everything that Google offers, with the exception of Postini which google pulled and from the sounds of it will be integrating it more with Apps as opposed to an add-on. It is basically up to the Google Apps domain admin to flip the switch on the services offered. I just flipped the switch for Google+ today....Thanks +Tom Anderson
 
+Tom Anderson I was thinking the same thing. The real substance today was opening up the G+ for Google Apps user. I see a huge potential. The small schools should really utilize those hangout sessions. It can be disruptive in education, if a user like #salman khan of khan academy utilize the hangout feature to conduct live classes for kids or adults alike. I really think Google needs to do advertised even the smallest features on their you tube channel or on TV during the prime time shows, so normal people can see it's benefits.
 
I use Calender and Docs every day. At work we have many shared documents that several of us edit. We rely on Docs, especially the spreadsheets.
 
+Roger Cummings Where are you admin that you activated it? Wouldn't happen to be UW, would it? 'Cause that would reallly be nice for meeting groups on Hangout for projects. :)
Aw, I just checked. No. Oh, well.
 
I have not got what hot and ripples yet. An the creative kit crash when I tried it.
 
Whew! About time... now that I've spent all that time adding folks to my gmail account. Need to come up with a more convenient way to merge the two. :/
 
I'm an independent IT consultant for local Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) in my home town. I successfully migrated several local NPO and small-businesses to using Google Apps as a 'business branded' solution instead of running an 'in-house' Exchange/Outlook server.

In all cases, it has been very successful transition, and the users are generally pleased about Google Account array of integrated and collaborative services.

Those projects have been over the past 2 to 3 years. And in the coming months, I'm about to transition another 3 or 4 NPOs over to Google Apps.

FYI, for fully registered (small) NPOs, Google Apps is free. For small businesses, the cost is FREE for under 10 users, cheap above that.

Just a few weeks ago, I did a presentation to a group of NPO representatives, about 'cloud computing' technology, and they all loved the idea and services available ! :)

Here's a copy of the slides, but unfortunately, not the great discussion which happened afterwards. :-/

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgwhx9nw_101crb49gck
 
I have been using Google Apps for years both for my own use as well as setting up clients to use them. The only downside has been having my GMail account and GMail for Apps accounts running side by side. It works, but when you go to other services (like Google Voice) for a long time it didn't handle the switch and some services still do not. I do hope that Google Apps and Non-Google Apps G+ accounts can easily co-exist in the same browser instance. (I often open up an "incognito" window to be able to multi-task between the two when Google doesn't support account switching)
 
I use google apps a lot. I setup google apps for all my clients, and develop for App Engine. It's awesome sauce.
 
I used the creative kite to modify my profile pic for my new G+ for apps profile +David Ford
 
Finally for us apps users.. Tom i would of figured you to be an ambassador to google apps lol!
 
+Abhijit Dhakne and +Jean-Louis Nguyen If the average implementation had 5 users, that's 25 million people potentially using G+ in a pretty serious way. That's a huge boon to Google's efforts.
 
OMG....i still dont Y some pple can't get the explanation above....lols..
 
I sell Google Apps for Business in large enterprises. Cloud computing for messaging and collaboration is here and very valuable! This is not just for small businesses; large enterprises are leveraging the cloud to enable productivity. 
 
I've used Google Apps at every startup I've founded since it's been available.
 
+Cheryl Lynn Regan +Matthew Beck I just watched the Vic/Sergey interview at Web 2.0 and an audience member got up in the Q&A and said the only reason he wasn't using G+ yet was because he couldn't login with this Google Apps account. Quite a surprise to me. The more I learn about this, the more I realize this is bigger news than anything else that launched today. (Though "whats hot" is very valuable, I guess I was just sort of expecting that feature to launch someday.)
 
Yes big news +tom anderson and wait till people tart sharing stuff direct from there mail accounts. next step, direct sharing from docs, integrate calendar sharing into G+ woo hoo
 
+Tom Anderson G+ has been available to consumers with their apps and gmail etc. Today, business users will be able to get G+ with their business account. Very exciting news!
 
I was absolutely ECSTATIC about this news today!!! It completely sucked having to use my dummy gmail account just to check out Google+. All the while anxiously knowing this was coming. This should have been out much sooner IMHO, but Im grateful to have it
 
Does this mean we can share Google Docs over Google+?
 
WOW! I feel a bit dumb because I didn't realise we can do that... Thanks!
 
When I look at the ripples for your posts I'm a little shocked at how little resharing people are doing of your posts (compared to people like Vic) given how well known you are and how thougtful your ideas are. This doesn't make sense to me.
 
+Pedram Keyani Yes, engagement on "larger users" posts has declined in a big way since the launch of "shared circles," I think. (I was commenting about it on the post after this one.. (my newest post)).
 
Hey Tom, not sure I follow. How does shared circles change sharing distribution? Also, interestingly enough (at least to me), some of your posts of your photography get more resharing than technology posts.
 
I think it means everybody has already shared the most popular g+ contributors like +Tom Anderson and so sharing posts from them just clogs everyone's strewn with too many re-shares. I only re-share stuff I think is not being widely viewed by my closest circles
 
Hey Tom, with the launch of this "Creative Kit" i think it's about time you give us a Halloween version of your pic, right?
 
I go to Case Western Reserve University and we use Google Apps across campus. It's great to see they're integrated with G+ now!
 
+Pornred tube That is the worst spam i've see yet... I hope nothing more comes of this spamming...
 
everything improves.. unfortunately so does ad-spammers. sigh.
 
We use google apps at the local private university that I work.....
 
I use Google Apps for my home domain. It's a nice easy way to get email and calendar with my personal @ address. I've been waiting for months to get Google+ :)
 
Our office uses Google Apps, but the Google+ account allowed both private and public communications. It's easy to mix them up, and until Google gives us better privacy controls, it's unsafe to use Google+ to discuss business-sensitive questions on Google+, because someone could accidentally share a message with "Public" instead of with the organization.

It's a shame, because Google+ would be perfect for intra-company communication about non-urgent matters.
 
Just to add an answer to the original original question, I use the 'free' version of Google Apps for my own personal parking and management of email from/for my domains. Have done for many years.
 
I`m a Google Apps user myself but for now I would keep my Apps and G+ account separate. Like +Eugene Wolfson states there are too easy to mix them up and confidential company info and discussions might end up on the interwebz. Better safe than sorry I say.
 
i am so glad i am not the only one who didnt know what the frak google aps was. :)
 
yay a BSG reference. i love it. Google apps have been around for a while but i think only people using Chrome were aware of them.
 
+Tom Anderson As one of the largest web development and marketing companies in Central Ohio, we have used Google Apps for years now. Google Apps has saved me thousands of dollars in I.T. costs, project management loss, client relationship management gains, accounting and many other areas. Google has enabled my team of people in the U.S. to seamlessly communicate with each other, clients and other team members located over-seas. The lack of Google+ has sucked...but it is what it is. I have never been the "patient" type! :-) I was playing around with the Hangout thing last night...looks amazingly cool! Google has set the bar in so many different arenas that I cannot imagine anyone catching up with them! In summary, Google Apps and all of the peripheral tools is absolutely amazing and they continuously improve their services!! Rock on Gapps & G+!
 
Using Google Apps mostly to have a custom domain and a custom login page. I've been waiting for G+ for Google Apps since when G+ came out... Funnily enough I missed the news and just learn it by following you : )
 
Love Google apps. Total convert for a few years and not missing Office at all.
 
Got my workplace to use Google Apps a few years ago, we've never looked back!
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