Google+ for G Suite lives on and gets new features

You thought Google+ was dead, didn’t you? And it is — if you’re a consumer. But the business version of Google’s social network will live on for the foreseeable future — and it’s getting a bunch of new features today.

Google+ for G Suite isn’t all that different from the Google+ for consumers, but its focus is very much on allowing users inside a company to easily share information. Current users include the likes of Nielsen and French retailer Auchan.

The new features that Google is announcing today give admins more tools for managing and reviewing posts, allow employees to tag content and provide better engagement metrics to posters.

Recently Google introduced the ability for admins to bulk-add groups of users to a Google+ community, for example. And soon, those admins will be able to better review and moderate posts made by their employees. Soon, admins will also be able to define custom streams so that employees could get access to a stream with all of the posts from a company’s leadership team, for example.

But what’s maybe more important in this context is that tags now make it easy for employees to route content to everybody in the company, no matter which group they work in. “Even if you don’t know all employees across an organization, tags makes it easier to route content to the right folks,” the company explains in today’s blog post. “Soon you’ll be able to draft posts and see suggested tags, like #research or #customer-insights when posting customer survey results.”

As far as the new metrics go, there’s nothing all that exciting going on here, but G Suite customers who keep their reporting structure in the service will be able to provide analytics to employees so they can see how their posts are being viewed across the company and which teams engage most with them.

At the end of the day, none of these are revolutionary features. But the timing of today’s announcement surely isn’t a coincidence, given that Google announced the death of the consumer version of Google+ — and the data breach that went along with that — only a few days ago. Today’s announcement is clearly meant to be a reminder that Google+ for the enterprise isn’t going away and remains in active development. I don’t think all that many businesses currently use Google+, though, and with Hangouts Chat and other tools, they now have plenty of options for sharing content across groups.

Dropbox drops some enhancements to Paper collaboration layer

When you’re primarily a storage company with enterprise aspirations, as Dropbox is, you need a layer to to help people use the content in your system beyond simple file sharing. That’s why Dropbox created Paper, to act as that missing collaboration layer. They announced some enhancements to Paper to keep people working in their collaboration tool without having to switch programs.

“Paper is Dropbox’s collaborative workspace for teams. It includes features where users can work together, assign owners to tasks with due dates and embed rich content like video, sound, photos from Youtube, SoundCloud, Pinterest and others,” a Dropbox spokesperson told TechCrunch.

With today’s enhancements you can paste a number of elements into Paper and get live previews. For starters, they are letting you link to a Dropbox folder in Paper, where you can view the files inside the folder, even navigating any sub-folders. When the documents in the folder change, Paper updates the preview automatically because the folder is actually a live link to the Dropbox folder. This one seems like a table stakes feature for a company like Dropbox.

Gif: Dropbox

In addition, Dropbox now supports Airtables, a kind of souped up spreadsheet. With the new enhancement, you just grab an Airtable embed code and drop it into Paper. From there, you can see a preview in whatever Airtable view you’ve saved the table.

Finally, Paper now supports LucidCharts. As with Airtables and folders, you simply paste the link and you can see a live preview inside Paper. If the original chart changes, updates are reflected automatically in the Paper preview.

By now, it’s clear that workers want to maintain focus and not be constantly switching between programs. It’s why Box created the recently announced Activity Stream and Recommended Apps. It’s why Slack has become so popular inside enterprises. These tools provide a way to share content from different enterprise apps without having to open a bunch of tabs or separate apps.

Dropbox Paper is also about giving workers a central place to do their work where you can pull live content previews from different apps without having to work in a bunch of content silos. Dropbox is trying to push that idea along for its enterprise customers with today’s enhancements.

The great enterprise chat race

Track sprinters lined up at starting The competitive deck appears nearly stacked against the startup, and it seems that every other month a new product launches from a major tech company that’s billed in the tech press as the next “Slack Killer.” What Slack does isn’t actually all that original as startup ideas go. It merely provides an environment for teams to share information inside a chat client. Yet… Read More

Giving corporate innovation a jolt

lightning storm Today’s competitive business world demands innovation. Corporations need to innovate to inspire, compete and survive. However, the burden of innovation has largely rested on startups. Large corporations and established businesses are expected to out-think their rivals, but more often we see that they rely on minor product updates or acquisitions in place of home-grown innovation. Read More

Atlassian keeps one foot in the data center and one in the cloud with new products

This photo taken on December 8, 2015 shows flags adorning the head office of Australian tech start-up Atlassian . Atlassian wants the best of both the cloud and data center worlds, and it announced at the Atlassian Summit today that it was expanding its data center-cloud strategy with new products. At a time when companies are shifting their business to the cloud, it may seem like an odd approach to offer both cloud and on-prem products, but Atlassian sees it as hedging its best in a world that remains… Read More

After more than a decade, the fire still burns for Box CEO Aaron Levie

Aaron Levie at TechCrunch Disrupt Box CEO Aaron Levie has been at it for more than a decade. For a guy barely past 30, that means it’s all he’s done professionally for his entire adult life. You could forgive him if he were thinking about another challenge, but even after all this time, the fire still clearly burns for Levie. When I asked him about possibly getting bored in an in-person interview this week at… Read More

Digital magazine company Issuu is now a collaboration platform, too

spotlight Digital media company Issuu has been trying to offer a better way to present content online. Now it’s a promising a better way for teams to work together on creating that content too, with the launch of a new product called Collaborate. Issuu, for those of you who don’t know, allows publishers to create digital publications. They may resemble glossy magazines, except freed from… Read More

What Steam Engines, Robots And Analytics Have In Common

robotboss Are robots going to put us all out of work? That seems to be the question on every click-bait economic article’s mind. The short answer: They aren’t. The long answer: They will change the kinds of jobs we do, just like stone tools, the printing press, the first factories and computers changed how we work. Thinking about how those changes are going to happen and what organizations… Read More