If you read Google’s own marketing literature on Google+ it is unquestionably “consumer”. Yet, looking around at the barrage of commentary on Google’s latest product suite, it is clear that many commentators think, or even suspect, that Google+ could be a further push towards Enterprise Web.
To be simplistic, Google owns the Information Web, Facebook owns Social Web, but as yet, no one can claim to own Enterprise Web, and I think that is a space worth owning. LinkedIn is a precursor to what Enterprise Web is, connecting professionals together for commercial gain. But LinkedIn is still a glorified site of CVs.
Google+, despite its consumer packaging brings a collection of collaborative tools together in one application suite. To video chat, aggregate content, share content and build groups of people that you can define rules against is a fundamental requirement within any established organisation.
These are fundamental building blocks for organised communication across a disparate workforce. The same can be said of behaviour in the consumer web, but critically, Facebook does not offer such a defined set of tools to work in this way.
Another thing to consider is market value. This is not to be confused with market valuation. Facebook “owns” a market where the market don’t pay for the service they get, yet Facebook’s valuation is stratospheric.
The Enterprise Web, whilst ill defined at this point, is absolutely a market of users who can generate considerable value yet, until recently, their money stayed locked away in IT budgets and big box on-premise enterprise solution roll-outs.
Things are changing, however, and there are good examples of “consumer grade” enterprise platforms being used in the market, with strong revenues attached. If Google has worked that one out, and thinks the general Zeitgeist is that the “consumer web” is changing how an enterprise operates, then it may be an irrelevance that Facebook owns the social web. Google+ has set its sights elsewhere.