Seven Ways to Use Google+ at Work | PCWorld Business Center

Seven Ways to Use Google+ at Work | PCWorld Business Center.  (No longer available online. Original text included below.)

Launched only 6 months ago, Google+ is the new kid on the social network block, playing catchup with Facebook. Despite the late start, Google continues added new features that make Google+ useful, and even important for businesses. If you’re not already using Google+, it’s time you started. Here are seven ways Google+ can be useful to you at work.

1. Google+ Pages

If your business provides any type of product or service, you need to have a Google+ Page. Like Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages are a destination for anyone seeking information about your offerings. Users can ‘follow’ you by adding you to a circle, which gives you a captive audience, which is the best kind of customer!

2. Google+ Profile

If you want the people in your business to be noticed on the Internet, than having a Google+ Profile is important. Each time you write an article or post, include your email address and a link to your Google+ profile. In Google+, create a link back to the article or post which will tell Google you are the author. When the post shows up in a Google Search, your picture will appear beside it, with the option for a user to add you to a circle directly from the search page. The number of circles you are in will appear as well, giving you instant authority as your numbers grow.

3. Google+ Chat

Google+ Chat is the same as chat in Gmail, but it includes people in your circles. It works great for instant messaging, audio, and video chats with your colleagues and even customers. The chat area in Google+ shows if they are online, and if they can do video chat. You can then communicate with them by simply clicking and typing.

4. Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts is a free video conferencing tool that allows up to 10 participants, and focuses its main screen on whomever is talking at the time. It can be accessed by phone as well, allowing remote workers and those on the road to join group meetings. Hangouts also allows screen sharing, which combined with it’s On Air broadcasting and recording tools, make it an excellent presentation tool. It can also be used while sharing a Google Doc, taking remote collaboration to a new level.

5. Google+ Stream

If you need to share ideas with colleagues or customers, Google+ is a great way to do it. You can jot a note, or add notes to pictures or videos, as well as links to webpages, and then share them with a circle of people. Only those in the circle will see what you’ve shared, and they can reply back. A great way to have an informal discussion about a topic.

6. Gmail Integration

With Google+ now linked to Gmail, as you are reading an email, you’ll see any Google+ activity by the sender on the right side of your screen. This allows you to easily add people like customers and vendors to your circles, and automatically keeps your contact information up-to-date as well.

7. Reader Integration

If you use Google Reader to keep up with your favorite websites via RSS, it’s likely you run across articles you want to share with your colleagues. With Google+ integration, you can easily share an article with any circle you choose, so those people can read and comment, and of course share their own as well.