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Google+ Integrates with Apps, Adds New Features

Google has launched Google+ for Google Apps and continues to add new features to the social networking platform. Previously, Google+ accounts could only be activated with a Gmail address.

With the launch, nearly two-dozen Google Apps for Education universities have enabled Google+ for their students, faculty, and staff. One of those schools is Wake Forest University.

"The way we do technology at Wake makes it easy for collaboration to go viral," said Rick Matthews, chief information officer and associate provost for information systems and technology at Wake Forest. "Google+ with its robust search feature really makes it easy to find other Deacons who have the same interests, needs and passions. Imagine all the connections our campus will be making."

"I can imagine holding virtual office hours," said Fred Salsbury, associate professor of physics at Wake Forest. "I can monitor my Google+ stream or even have a Google+ hangout at specific times. With one of my classes being held with students in multiple locations on multiple campuses, daytime office hours can be limiting, so a virtual meeting one evening might make collaborating with students more convenient."

Hangouts is a Google+ feature that allow users to video conference with up to nine other users and the stream is where users see posts shared with them by the people in their circles.

Other uses for Google+ suggested by Wake Forest students, faculty, and staff include:

  • Bring speakers to class via hangouts;
  • Share information with students through a class circle instead of using handouts;
  • Increase class engagement by encouraging students to comment on material shared in class circles;
  • Create shared circles of sources and experts for a class to follow;
  • Create an alumni circle for networking or career development; and
  • Use hangouts to meet with a study group.

According to a post on the Official Google Enterprise Blog, the company is working on a migration tool to allow users who started using the service with a personal account to move their information, such as circles, to an Apps account. The post says that the tool will likely be available within a few weeks.

Along with Apps integration, Google also rolled out three new features, what's hot, ripples, and creative kit, for Google+.

What's hot, accessible at the end of new posts in a user's stream or in their list of circles, allows users to see posts about topics trending on the network. Ripples gives users the ability to see how posts spread publicly throughout the network. Creative kit is a tool for editing images uploaded to Google+

More information about Google+ for higher education is available at google.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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