• 07/06/2011
    4:37 PM
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Google+ Latest Service To Snub Google Apps Users

For more than a year, Google has been promising to fix a compatibility problem with Google Apps accounts "soon."

Top 15 Google Apps For Business
Slideshow: Top 15 Google Apps ForBusiness
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The logjam may break soon. Dave Girouard, president of the Google Enterprise division, recently tweeted, "Making Google+ work for Google Apps users is a very high priority for the team. Sorry to make you wait--we have to do it right." In a post on Google+, he also mentioned something about an upcoming trial for universities ("Can't wait to get Google+ out to some of our Apps for EDU schools!"). Speaking on the last This Week in Google podcast, Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product at Google said the need for Google Apps compatibility "is the single biggest bit of feedback we got" on the Google+ launch and reiterated that it was a high priority.

R "Ray" Wang, principal analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, sees great potential in Google+ as a business application, particularly because of its unified communications features such as voice and video collaboration options. The fact that Google Apps users don't have their email unified just yet is a temporary roadblock, he said, a factor of Google suffering through "big company problems" where different product teams are struggling to synchronize their efforts.

The hurdles could even work to Google's advantage, establishing pent-up demand much like in the early days of Gmail, when accounts were offered on a limited invitation-only basis, Wang said.

Still, a survey of support forum threads shows many Google Apps users are frustrated.

"The thing is with people with personal Google apps domains are the first adopter types who would probably most interested in getting profiles and this Google+ thing working," wrote Jeff Martin, a programmer who works for the education firm Apollo Group, the operator of the University of Phoenix. He runs a Google Apps account for his own personal domain, he said, and for an educational nonprofit he supports.

"We're sort of the loyal Google guys, and we jumped on the bandwagon when they announced this 'use Google with your own domain' thing," Martin said. Sure, he could go back to signing in with his old Gmail account to use the social services, "but I really hate my Gmail address and don't want that exposed anymore."

Newsome said he was mildly irritated by this incompatibility when he first experimented with Google Buzz--except that he didn't care that much because Buzz never seemed to have the same potential that Google+ does. Now he wants in, and he doesn't want to have to switch to a personal Gmail account to accomplish it.

"If you're using Google Apps, you don't want to create a network around some other email address that you don't even use," he said.

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re: Google+ Latest Service To Snub Google Apps Users

Maybe a little early to complain about it, it's not even in wide release yet. I can't even get them to give me an account even though I do have a Google profile.

re: Google+ Latest Service To Snub Google Apps Users

True, it's early for Google+. But this issue has been kicking around for a year and a half or so and also helped undermine the Google Buzz effort. I see it as a symptom of Google not being particularly agile or responsive, and leaving a core constituency feeling neglected. Paying Google Apps customers in particular are grumbling about paying more for a lower level of service in some ways.

Probably fair to say the grumbling comes more from SMBs, techies, and consultants who are Google Apps customers than from major enterprises (who may actually appreciate the more careful and conservative introduction of new features).

On the other hand, it doesn't seem like it should be this hard to add a checkbox to the Google Apps admin panel saying "enable user profiles" (the way many consumer and Google Labs features are offered today).