On the Google Apps team, we wake up every day excited to work on products that are powering a fundamental shift in business technologies. Whole companies are moving into the cloud, where they rely on the same web-based applications their employees use at home: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Drive. We call this trend “going Google.”

As part of this trend, we’re witnessing how web-based collaboration and social tools have dramatically changed the way people connect. Whether you’re across the street or across the world, you can hold face-to-face meetings, share updates with colleagues and friends and work on a presentation together in real time. Like Google Apps, we think Google+ can help colleagues collaborate more easily and get things done—and get to know each other along the way.

So today we’re launching an initial set of Google+ features designed specifically for businesses, and we’re excited to move into a full preview mode for Apps customers. During this preview period, organizations that have gone Google will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013 while we continue to add more features and administrative controls designed for organizations.

For the past few months, pilot customers like Kaplan and Banshee Wines have been using Google+ to help employees engage and connect with each other. We’ve worked hard to incorporate early feedback from pilot customers into our plans, and we’re thrilled to begin offering Google+ features tailored to organizations.

Private sharing for your organization
Google Apps users now have more control over the content they post to Google+. When you create a post you can mark it as restricted. Restricted posts are private to your organization and can never be re-shared with anyone outside. At the same time, when you create a post, you have the flexibility to share it with specific partners or colleagues outside the organization as well if you choose.

Restricted posts cannot be shared outside the organization

Video meetings integrated with Gmail, Calendar and Docs
When you’re on Google Apps, holding a face-to-face meeting with colleagues or clients around the world doesn’t require coordinated travel schedules or expensive video conferencing technology. All you need is a device with a camera and an internet connection. Hangouts lets up to 10 people join a video meeting from their laptop, phone or tablet.

As we announced in July, people can now join a multi-way video chat, powered by Hangouts, directly from Gmail. They can also open a Google doc in a hangout meeting, making it easy for colleagues to write or edit a document together from anywhere. And starting today, users can also add a hangout to a Calendar event, allowing attendees to join the meeting directly from the invite or Calendar entry.

Add a hangout to a calendar event

Work on a doc face-to-face in a hangout

Administrative Controls
To help make sure users are sharing only with the people they intend, administrators can now set company-wide defaults for post restrictions. They can also enable restricted Hangouts to facilitate private meetings within the company.

Just the Beginning
These latest business features for Google+, which will be rolling out throughout the day, are just a start. We have a lot more planned for the coming months, including a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users and more administrative controls.

Every day, more companies are going Google. We’re excited to help them take advantage of modern, web-based tools and give their employees new ways to connect and collaborate. If you’re a Google Apps customer, we encourage you to bring Google+ to work today.