How to use Google+ 'restricted communities' in your company

Google has rolled out a new Google+ security feature for organisations intended to help them keep certain conversations private from the larger Web. The update comes in the wake of news that Google+ has seen a 58 per cent surge in the number of active users.

Much like Microsoft's Yammer, Google+ restricted communities will only allow access to approved employees.

"Whether it's designs of your beta product or notes from your team off-site, anything you post will remain restricted to the organization," Google+ product manager Michael Cai wrote in a blog post .

Community administrators can decide whether the site will remain open to everyone at the company, or be kept private by invitation only. Google+ also allows for people outside of your domain — clients, agencies, business partners — to join the conversation.

All private communities have the option to be hidden from public search results.

To get started , find the green communities icon in the Google+ main navigation menu, then click "Create community." Choose whether to restrict the page to people only in your organisation, then decide who can see members and posts — open (anyone in the domain) or private (only approved members).

Enter a name for the group, indicate whether or not a moderator must approve members, and click "Create community."

Once established, the community can be used to share files, videos, events, and photos from Google Drive, as well as discussion.

Google suggested that users participate by posting, leaving comments, and +1-ing posts. You should not, however, leave a community unmoderated; check in daily to make sure the space is not being abused.

Last week, Google rolled out vanity URLs to all Google+ users, days before it pulled the plug on its long-running iGoogle personalized home page.