So far, all the enterprise social networking firms I can think of have come to market as enterprise software or SaaS firms that offer some variation on "Facebook inside your enterprise."

But I see the potential for "Google+ inside your enterprise" to come to market as a Google Apps-connected version of Google+, just as Google Apps for enterprise and organizational use provides business variations on tools that are also available to consumers. I'm thinking about this after hearing from +Vic Gundotra that Google Apps integration is supposed to be arriving any time (last week he said it would be "within days").

Facebook is unlikely to ever feel the need to create an enterprise version of Facebook, but for Google this would follow a pattern that has shown some success with products like GMail where enterprise users may appreciate the convenience of a user interface they've learned to work with in their personal lives.

The major challenge then becomes keeping business conversations separate from personal ones, with the flexibility to sometimes share outside the corporate domain -- something Google already does with products like Google Docs.

This would only appeal to the enterprises that are willing to choose a cloud hosted enterprise social network, so I wouldn't expect to see the largest, most paranoid enterprises embrace it. But for a lot of SMBs and startups, the folks most open to solutions like Yammer, this could be a compelling choice.
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David F. “Old Profile” Carr's profile photoRich Blank's profile photoPaolo Tosolini's profile photo
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David, I agree with you that Google has higher stakes in the enterprise than FB and the integration of G+ with Docs makes total sense. I have been experimenting G+ Hangouts as an internal collaboration business tool (see my past postings) and there is potential. To me, the integration should feel safe to the end use, beyond just a big button that asks 'Are you sure...?'. Users should give it for granted that whatever is shared stays internally, so circles will have to be enhanced to be centrally supported, so the Share feature and probably some of the UI as well. I look forward to this integration myself.
 
I probably didn't give enough consideration to Hangouts as a unique feature of Google+ - I'm not sure any of the existing enterprise social network players offer anything like that as an integrated feature. Not at the entry level, anyway
 
Sorry David. I just don't see G+ inside the enterprise. So many reasons why..for large businesses and SMBs alike. O365 provides a more attractive offering and value in terms capabilities and a higher level of trust. Startups are a different story and anything free looks attractive at first...but you soon realize you get what you pay for... and as you grow, get real customers, and consult your lawyers...you need to get your information management house in order. Legal, compliance, security...3 big reasons why Google or a Yammer just don't play well in the enterprise...
 
+David F. Carr I think Skype Group video calling is the closest to G+ Hangouts these days, but it's not free like G+
+Rich Blank You may be right that big enterprises may decide to use Microsoft cloud or run their own servers. That said, I wouldn't rule out G+ completely as a social enterprise solution yet. It may not be a good fit for big organizations, but there are plenty others who would benefit from it.
And as you mention Yammer, they seem to have 100K companies already on board. That's a good number to me.
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