Long time readers of the blog may be getting a feeling of deja vu with the title of the post. After all, it was about two years ago that I wrote about Google Wave. That product was going to change the
world way we communicate. (Fortunately, I didn’t make such bold predictions, other than to point out that lawyers couldn’t ignore new technologies — like Facebook and Twitter — forever. )
Turns out Google Wave was a pretty big failure.
But don’t let that misstep cloud your judgment on Google’s latest innovation, called “Google+”.
What is Google+? It’s a new social networking platform. (Here’s a great explanation.)
Will it change the legal landscape? My fellow Connecticut blogger, Ryan McKeen, thinks so. After having been on it for a week or so, I’m not yet so sure. Let’s just say it has potential: Kind of a hybrid between Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s at least worth checking out.
Which leads me to employers. Google+ isn’t something to worry about. Yet. Only early adopters such as myself are on it now. It’s still a long way away from mass adoption.
But it does portend a new wave of innovation on social networking and the developing “war” between Facebook and Google for social networking supremacy. Already on Google+, you can track information through “sparks” or use video “hangouts” to talk with people who are in your circle. And people who have been looking for alternative to Facebook now have one.
In other words, despite an employer’s efforts to control information, Google+ may lead to yet another wave of lesser privacy and more collaboration. And more opportunities for less-than-noble employees to pass along your company secrets.
The employment law landscape has undergone rapid changes over the last five years. Employers who haven’t taken the time to understand them, are now behind the curve of where many of the employees are. Google+ is just the latest reminder that employers who continue to ignore this new technology aren’t just missing out on the benefits of it, but they are doing so at their peril.
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