Social PDM via Google Drive Activity?

Social PDM via Google Drive Activity?

google-drive-logoThe word “social” is getting into many places these days. However, very often, it is overloaded and misunderstood by people coming from different domains. It is easy when you are in social networks open world. Social meaning is clearly associated with Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. However, when you get into business software and enterprise, the purpose is not so obvious. Big enterprise vendors are betting on their social future by acquiring social platforms and software. However, the way social experience can be applied for business purposes is not clear for many of them.

Some interesting things are happening in the intersection of office software and social features. Google Apps is an interesting place to watch. The process of merging Google+ and Google App platform is probably going to happen in a longer future. Meanwhile, Google just added an interesting feature that caught my attention earlier today – Google Drive Activity Stream.

Activity stream clearly has social notion and, therefore, very interesting in terms how business software can intersect with social features. Tracking changes of shared docs on Google Drive is much more easy with activity streams. It also helps to collaborate with other participants.

If you have Google account you can experience new feature now. However, if you are not on Google, Navigate to the following blog article – A new activity stream in Drive shows you what’s changed to read more and see few screenshots.


Google activity streams made me think about future intersection of PDM and social trends. I’ve made some manipulations by uploading few engineering files to my Google account and trying to play with them. I see Google drive with Activity stream can provide an ideal cloud social PDM user experience. You can clearly imaging few absent features – viewer and change commands. On the picture below, you can a small mockup.


What is my conclusion? We can speculate about Google play into PDM / PLM domain. I’d not bet my future on this. At the same time, customers are looking for well-understood user experience from their everyday life. Google can provide some of them. Google Drive Activity Stream is a good example of social features adapted to business software. A good note to PDM/PLM product managers and user experience designers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Intersection is bound to happen.

    Interestingly enough, Google was quite a bit closer than this. They picked up DocVerse for $25M in 2010 – rolled it into Google Cloud Connect for Office integration and some nifty co-editing features. They canned it all in the great cleansing of April 2013, probably because the visionaries from DocVerse moved on. Google, really great on ideas, not always so awesome with integration.

  • beyondplm

    You are right, Ed! Google often comes with lots of bright ideas and lose on execution. Therefore, I’m not very optimistic to see Google taking a leadership in enterprise business. Microsoft is much better with their SharePoint stuff. However, Google is a good place to copycat idea. Time will show how Google will play in the future.