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Google+ gains new controls to give business users more privacy

Google+ gains new controls to give business users more privacy

New 'restricted communities' are designed to let companies share information securely

Google has added some new privacy controls to Google+ to give business users a more secure way to share sensitive information on the social network.

On Tuesday the company added "restricted communities" to Google+, as a way to have conversations on the social network but with privacy-aware controls. Users can decide whether to open the community to everyone at their company, or open only on an invite basis.

Communities in Google+ were designed to let people start conversations around any number of topics. But Google hopes the new feature will attract business users without them worrying about spilling company secrets on the site.

"At most organizations, it's important to make sure that private conversations remain private," Google+ Product Manager Michael Cai said in a blog post.

Whether it's designs for a product in beta testing, or notes from an off-site meeting, "anything you post will remain restricted to the organization," Cai said.

Administrators will be able to make restricted communities the default for their organization, Google said. After creating the restricted community, users can share files from Google's Drive file storage service as well as videos, events and photos. Administrators can later invite other team members to join the conversation, Google said.

Users can also create communities open to others outside the company, so clients, agencies and other business partners can join in, Google said.

Other social networking applications for business users include Yammer, Socialtext and Salesforce.com's Chatter service.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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