Google+ and Mobile Productivity for the Enterprise

Mashable reports that Google has improved its IOS Google+ app:

The search giant follows Tuesday’s Android update of Google+with a similar refresh to its iOS version, now available free on the App Store. What’s new? Like its Android cousin, the iOS version of the Google+ mobile app now supports Hangouts, letting groups communicate with each other using front-facing cameras on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. In addition to Hangouts, the app offers better control of its various notifications, and a renamed Messenger (formerly Huddle) that now lets users attach photos to chat threads. Other niceties include the ability to +1 in comments, improved +mention support, a map view in Profile for places you’ve lived, and various reliability improvements.

One of the key features of a post-PC (or in the future, a post-device) world is the decoupling of productivity from the PC. In some ways, as this handy graph indicates, the revolution has been long in coming–and the gap between PDA and tablet is not really that big. Look for more and more features of desktop computing to continue to migrate to the mobile sphere. There are limits, of course, (memory, screen size, and the limitations of typing on small QWERTY keyboards being the most obvious) but overall trendlines are increasingly clear.

Google+ is centralizing many productivity features that once had to be put together with many different mobile apps. As ArsTechnica noted,”The desire for mobile access to social networks is a significant factor.” And no one reading CTOVision needs reminders about the productivity multiplier effect inherent in social networks in the enterprise (see Alex Olesker’s recent post on Jive). In 2008, Giusseppe Lugano wrote in First Monday that mobile social network applications have suffered because of a popular lack of interest in conceptualizing mobile devices as anything except a vehicle for calling and texting. This has obviously changed.

Now’s a good time to bring back Bob Gourley’s post from last year about one of the many security problems with mobile apps:

[D[id you realize that when you connect to a wi-fi hotspot, even if it is a hotspot you have to pay to join, you are opening yourself up to privacy attacks? Every other computer (including iPad/iPhone/Droid) on that wi-fi network can now know something about your computer just because you joined the wi-fi lan. And, if you allowed your computer to be configured a certain way you might be providing a significant amount of personal information to your fellow wi-fi users. You might even be authorizing them, through your configuration settings, to see all the files on your computer. …When you are using your device at home or in your office you might have good reason to have wide open settings that let others on your LAN move files in and out from your computer. That’s a great way to share work, backup files, exchange photos, share printers, synchronize contact databases etc (and hopefully that is over an encrypted LAN you control). But then when you take that device on the road and join a wi-fi network, you really don’t want to be authorizing everyone else on that wi-fi network to have the same authorizations you share at home.

Many employees will be doing work and communicating opportunistically off wi-fi networks. Hence the importance of vigilance when looking at the potential security costs of migrating enterprise productivity to the mobile sphere.

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