How to use Google Currents

Currents is Google's enterprise social network app, built as an enterprise-only successor to Google+. Currents is intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among people in organizations.

Google Workspace includes access to Google Currents, which, in my experience, is news to many people. Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Meet tend to dominate the discussion when it comes to Workspace apps--Currents is often overlooked.

SEE: Google Sheets: Tips and tricks (TechRepublic download)

Four ways to use Google Currents

As an organization-wide space for conversation, Currents provides an effective channel for the following four key communications categories:

When many people in an organization use Currents for aforementioned categories, the app can help flatten formal structures and create a culture that provides a place for everyone.

Figure A

How to get started with Currents

Google's Get started with Currents support page offers an excellent sequence of steps. Unlike many support pages, this one offers not only the technical steps needed, but also includes many helpful examples and suggestions. The general process, though, distills down to the following steps:

Figure B

Why not use another Workspace app?

Once people learn that Currents exists, I also usually have to answer a series of questions as people realize Google Workspace offers more than one communication channel.

People may ask, "Why not just email everyone?" Well, email is an excellent way to share direct, private information, but it is a less than optimal way to encourage a broad, public discussion.

Then they remember, "Aren't Google Groups searchable?" Yes, Groups are searchable, but without a high level of interest, people often tend either to ignore or to unsubscribe from Group messages.

People particularly attuned to Google's product releases then often ask, "Google Chat is for teams, isn't it? What about Rooms in Chat?" My reply is that Chat and Rooms are generally best thought of as ways for either individuals or teams focused on specific tasks to share ideas, discussions or files.

Currents keeps discussions out of inboxes, while also making those conversations available to a broad range of people across an organization.

What's your experience with Currents?

If you use Google Workspace, do you use Currents at your organization? If so, what types of communities, tags, and streams have you found most active and helpful? Let me know any additional tips you have for others who use Currents--either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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