It always struck me as somewhat of a spectacular own goal that when Google launched Google Plus (G+) in late June 2011, that it wasn't available for the 4 million businesses coughing up real money for Google Apps, let alone those using them for free.
After the debacle when the big G prematurely launched Buzz to much criticism, this was the opposite end of the spectrum. Lock out the most engaged Google users, and those guaranteed to get the most from a new service. As you'd expect there was a fair bit of forum-based grumbling.
In order to get things working Google needed to roll-out profiles for Google Apps, which was announced matter-of-factly on their blog a couple of days ago. Considering the company's focus on being more social it's surprising they haven't made more of a song and dance about it...yet.
So, if like me, you'd been waiting to get your mitts on this and have a proper look-see without having to constantly login and logout of a personal Gmail account, here's a quick guide to setting it up (you can find the official Google guide here).
Step 1: Enable Google Profiles for Your Organisation
Login to to your domain's management console. If you use to access this from the link in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail account, you'll probably notice the link has disappeared. You can access the control panel directly using a URL.
The format is: http://www.google.com/a/domain.name
Next, select the Organization & users tab from the main menu then choose the Services option.
Scroll down to find the switch for Google+ at the bottom of the list of Google-branded services, see the screenshot below for an example.
Next up, there's a warning screen that essentially spells out, that by turning on Google+, you're letting your organisation's users control their profiles and get up to all sorts of mischief if they so wish. Probably a good time to check the company's social media policy.
Note the Turn Google+ on link is the text link, not the button.
Step 2: Individual Users Turn on Google+
So far, so good. Google+ is now turned on at the organisation level, but individual users need to enable their own account so they can use it. Just direct them to the main Google+ homepage at http://plus.google.com.
As long as they are signed in to their Google Apps account, they'll be prompted to create a profile and get cracking with Google+, it looks like this:
Photo (cc) keso s.
RIP Steve Jobs.
I saw the news in the early hours of yesterday morning (UK time), whilst I was sitting cross-legged on the bedroom floor trying to force conference badges through my (non-Apple) printer without much luck.
It was a rather surreal moment. We all knew he was ill, really ill, and judging by his last appearance, Steve Jobs, was fighting his illness, but it was proving to be a tough battle. Even so, the news was still unexpected and sheds light on the new Apple CEO's sombre performance at the iPhone launch the previous day.
It's very sad, for his family, and for the tech industry in general, but trying to get some perspective is difficult when every news outlet splashing the story across their front page, ticker and broadcasts. Predictably, social media went nuts.
In this maelstrom of media, trying to get some perspective is tricky, but maybe the impact is similar to the feeling when John Lennon was shot in 1980. I was too young to have realised the impact of that event, but it turns out, I'm not the only one to draw this comparison.
People connected with John Lennon as an artist, with a visceral connection to his work. Can Steve Jobs really be held compared? My answer: yes. If anything, for this generation maybe more so.
His innovation at the cross-roads of technology and design has re-defined an industry. A phone without buttons, probably inconceivable pre-iPhone, is now the de-facto standard. I won't bang on the products as I don't consider myself an Apple fanboy, although others may disagree, especially if I ever did an audit of the products I own.
Consider the revolutions (good or bad, you decide) - computing, telephony, music, tablets. An impressive legacy that has had massive impacts on both the creation and consumption of media.
There'll be lots written about Jobs...but in everything I really liked the post from Brian Lam, ex-editor of Gizmodo who was both friendly and locked horns with Jobs, when his blog covered a pre-release iPhone, lost by an Apple employee.
And for the inspiring side of Steve Jobs, his Stanford commencement speech:
Fact of life: things break. Web services rely on power grids, complicated hardware, platters of material spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute, and that's before the human element is factored in. Come to think of it, it's rather impressive that the whole thing is so reliable <superstitious>touches wood</superstitious>.
What defines an organisation is how they handle themselves when things go wrong. Do they ignore their customers? Deny there's a problem? Maintain a status page with red/amber/green icons? Communicate status via Twitter.
Here's how Flickr handled an outage this morning (BST), have to hand it to them, it's absolute class. A perfect balance of information and light-heartedness. I can forgive them the fact that some urgent updates to the conference site I'm working on will have to wait a few minutes.
Here's what greets you on the homepage:
Mysterious, but a quick look at their blog reveals:
and checking the @flickr twitter stream:
Yes, it's still a bit annoying that the service is down, but I do love their approach. If you're on a tighter deadline, it's probably more irritating, but I'm a big fan of whoever is putting together their copy. Very nice work indeed.
Maybe I'm being naive, but I can't help thinking that if Facebook faced a similar outage, the response wouldn't be quite so positive. Flickr has an awful of goodwill despite Yahoo's best efforts to ignore the service.
Photo (c) Alford Charlie.