Connecting with coworkers beyond the office is not a new concept - one that dates back far before the advent of social networking. Connections between employees of the same organization have never been strictly based in the office - with discussions about business taking place over dinner, at a sporting event, or the phone. Many employees are friends, both on Facebook and in-person.
Google Brings New Meaning to Virtual Office
Google+ is taking this concept one step further with the introduction of what it refers to as a virtual office service, which allows employees to connect with each other through the popular social networking platform. This news comes from Google's enterprise division
, which focus on developing Google products for business, such as Google Drive for Business. Most social networks - LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ - have personal information such as employment and personal information such as contact information. Google+'s virtual office concept makes it easier to find your coworkers on Google+ by labeling with their title within the organization, making it easy to identify the right decision-makers when having conversations over Google+. The labels for each person are only visible to employees within the organization, so they can make sure they're posting to the right person - a good feature to have with so many common names that can be mistaken. Employees can then share files, or participate in video conferences, using the Google+ Hangout feature.
Virtual Office Still Has Traditional Roots
Of course, the term "virtual office" in this instance, is a bit misleading. "Virtual office" usually refers to address services at a location, phone reception and mail delivery to a prominent Manhattan business address, giving a professional address to freelancers, small teams, and virtual teams. New York City virtual office
services don't focus as much on teams working together, as simply providing the physical address. Google+'s service does provide an interesting new approach to sharing information and connecting with coworkers virtually - and it will be interesting to see if it becomes an accepted medium of business communication in the coming months.