The reason Google+ is not yet available to Apps Users

First off, I don't have the answer. Maybe you do.

Familiar with this message?

If you are a Google Apps user and have tried to access Google Plus, or use the +1 button, that image will have haunted you a plenty.

There are great deal of benefits from being a Google Apps user. It's essentially like having Gmail acount and more but instead of having

However for many months now, the gap has been widening between the Google services available to Gmail users versus Apps users.

The reason the new Google + and the +1 button is unavailable is because those services are dependant on creating a Google Profile and as Apps users and Admins know, Google Profiles are not yet available.

Coming soon?

There is a Google blog post from March 2011, that hinted the functionality would be enabled for Apps users 'soon'. Alas the comments steadily grow.

Since the launch of Google + and +1 button the clamour on other networks from Apps Users has been getting louder:

And the demand is only going to continue.

So why the delay?

The truth is no-one really knows or is not openly saying.

Here is a thread on Quora Why aren't Google Profiles available for Google Apps users? that hint at the extra challenges of Profiles for Apps users and some high profile bloggers have enquired why but don't shed light on the motive for the delay other than caution from Mountain View.

Too important to fail

So Google have a proud record of products that never really exited beta, technologies that we never quite liked (Sidewiki) or understood (Wave) or embraced (Buzz) and the tradition will long continue.

Except this time around, the revised efforts at cracking social for Google are possibly just too important to fail.

Generally speaking the reception to Google+ has been pretty positive and almost universally understood by those who have meddled with it. That bodes well for Google.

The invites window period was brief enough to recruit an enthusiastic army of testers that will implicitly supply enough feedback for Google and publicly appraise or berate the service so it can be refined.

Buzz me not

In contast when Buzz was launched it was quickly exposed at having shortcomings that despite being rectified, created a wave of antipathy against it and a provoked a legal and regulatory headache for Mountain View.

A Federal Trade Commission settlement and compliance for Google has now resulted in a comprehensive privacy program that will be audited for 20 years.

Basically dogfooding Buzz at Google was insufficient to detect the risk that manifested itself in the early public phase.

And this is where I can understand the cautious approach winning at Mountain View over the prevalent Silicon Valley tendency to fail fast and iterate.

Apps users are different

So Apps users are not a homogeneous bunch. From vanity domain personal users to small businesses upto major organisations, corporates with many thousand of users and multinationals, the only aspect that really unites them is not being an individual gmail user.

Not all Apps users pay, but those that do, pay because they earn, and if their earnings can be affected by Google mistakes in their adventures in social, then Google and the rest of the world will soon know about it.

Individual Gmail users engaging in lawsuits against Google because of an obscure loophole in their new social suite? I doubt it.

A corporate or an organisation doing the same with all the reputation consequences? Possibly.

Early adopter dogfooding

So only hours after the window of Google invites is now closed, we already see a frenzy of activity about Google+.

The critical acclaim has been generally good.

People seem to latch on how it works quickly, at least there is not the initial bemusement akin to the welcome of Wave, although bizarrely enough +1's don't display within Google+  as Search Engine Land observed.

More importantly, already there is a sufficient army of testers who can implicitly through their usage, and publically through their blogging and tweeting, supply enough feedback for Google to refine matters.

And refinements are sure to happen.

Already the Financial Times' observation about a privacy flaw have been amplified by the tech press and other issues about Google+ spam bots are gaining attention.

This early phase testing is a protective period for Google as much as it is for Apps organisations.

Because the risk of getting it wrong this time around or not quite getting it absolutely right for Google is just too high.

Ask any Google employee, their salary is now tied to the social success of Google.

The challenges of Profiles for Apps Users

The background to Profiles for Apps Users and other Google services was the legacy around the different infrastructures in place at Google. If you had a Google Profile before setup with an Apps email and now cannot access it, you may have been be one of those who Google has earmarked as having a conflicted account

You might be waiting and wondering what to do next. Wait for Apps to get Profiles and start +1 content out there on the web under that identity? Or succumb to opening a Gmail account to use Google+ instead?

And what happens when Apps Users finally get onboard? Will they have a Profile used in Gmail and another one with their Apps email just add to the confusion.

More importantly will there be some portability function to allow migration of account information between a Gmail and an Apps account including that all valuable digital footprint. What if I join company XYZ and then move on, can I haz my data?

The greater the delay between the launch of Profiles for Apps and now, the more socially messy things will become.

There are probably a lot more issues at stake for Profiles for Apps users. Preventing +1 abuse from same domains or IP ranges so to quash efforts to manipulate computing of SERPs? Surely that's on the agenda.

I'm sure there are more reasons, let me know.

Why do you think Apps Users cannot access Google+ or +1?

Receive Notification of Profiles for Apps
You can receive notice formally from Google once Profiles is launched for Apps users and thus know when your organisation can use Google+ via this official form: