In a week where we talked a lot about collaboration, it is probably appropriate to wrap up with a small announcement from Google Drive that should make Box or Dropbox pause for thought.
The announcement appeared on the Google Enterprise blog during the week and concerns file share between Google Drive and Google+. In fact, what it says is that from here on it will be incredibly easy to share files from Google Drive into the Google+ social network, taking Google+ another step further towards making it a truly collaborative environment.
Google+, Google Drive
Collaboration, however, only becomes attractive when it is easy to do, and this addition is just that. As of this week users who want to, will able to share everything stored in Google Drive with selected recipients. This includes documents, photos and even videos which can be played directly in Google+.
While at face value this doesn’t look like much of a change as there has always been the possibility of sharing between the two, it’s not just sharing this time; now, users will also be able to access all this content in Google+ itself.
Think of what this will mean. It basically offers collaboration and sharing of all content inside a social application to everyone that has signed up with these Google apps. In some cases, this will undoubtedly make them think twice about signing up to Box or Dropbox for at least some users.
And it really is easy to use. To get started, Li-Wei Lee, Software Engineer with Google explains in a blog post that users only have to click the Google+ icon when they are sharing from Drive, or copy-and-paste a link to a file from Google Drive into one of their Google+ posts.
Google Drive, Google + file sharing
Google+ contacts will be able to click on a thumbnail within the Google+interface and open the file in a separate browser window.
If you are using Google Apps for Business, Education or Government, posts can also be restricted to ensure that the conversation only lands where you want it to.
On top of this, each file share in Google+ carries with it the access settings that have been given by the owner on Drive, so the content that is to be shared can be defined and limited by the file owner.
While this is a big plus for Google+ it is still not a fully-fledged enterprise social networking (ESN) app, but it is getting close. It is unlikely that Google will just leave it at this and it's just about certain that Google will continue to add functionality until it has to all intents and purposes become a ESN. More on this as it happens.