Word has just recently come out that Google+ has been released for Google Apps, and that domain administrators can now allow Google+ to be active on Google Apps domains on a domain-by-domain basis. Google+ users can now have profiles on their Google Apps accounts, and Google is said to be working on integration and migration features that will allow you to tie two Google+ accounts together or migrate existing settings and circles from one Google+ account to your Google+ Google Apps account.
So what does this mean for you?
Well, for one thing, this is going to be a great boon for small businesses. Many small businesses use Google Apps for their email and other needs, and the lack of Google+ for them has been a thorn in their side for some time now: other social networking sites, particularly Facebook, have long accommodated multiple accounts and have had no problems with businesses and personal users sharing the same social networking space. Facebook has even instituted business pages that are representative of the specific business (though Google+ has also rolled out a similar feature, which will be discussed in an upcoming blog post as well).
Google+ has, until now, been tethered to personal Gmail accounts, which poses problems for many people who have Google Apps and who didn’t want to mix their personal and business lives. Many people, for example, were forced to forego having a personal Google+ account and used it to market their business, while others preferred a personal account and thus were unable to market their business on Google+. Put simply, thus far Google Apps users with customized, business-specific domain names have been left out of the loop when it comes to networking on Google+, and have, as a result, been ham-stringed when it comes to marketing or advertising their business on the Internet.
The fact that Google+ has been opened up to Google Apps users now removes those boundaries, and it makes Google+ a serious contender to the other social networking sites as far as internet marketing for small business is concerned. Before this, Google+ was a personal social networking site, and it was hard for small businesses to gain traction on it: now, with Google Apps supported on the Google+ platform, Google+ is a much more viable vehicle for getting the word out about your business and marketing it online.
There are, of course, other benefits to the Google+ and Google Apps integration, but this is perhaps the most pertinent to small business users; what other benefits (or even hindrances) are we going to see from this feature? Let us know what you think this means to you in the comments!