As many of you will have noticed, last week Google launched the beta version of Google+, another foray into the social networking space and the latest Facebook rival. The project’s features include Circles, Sparks, Hangouts and, most significantly for us, Huddle.

Following the launch, there has been much speculation on Twitter and in the press as to whether the feature in Google+ is a joint venture between us and Google.  While the Huddle feature in Google+ appears designed to foster personal collaboration based on relationships and consumers’ interests, the Huddle feature in Google+ is not associated with Huddle, the leader in enterprise cloud collaboration and content management. There have also been suggestions that Google has, in fact, acquired us.   There is no basis to such speculation.

Huddle has been providing its cloud collaboration and content management services to organizations in the U.S. and the rest of the world since May 2007. In fact, more than half of Huddle’s users are based in the U.S. and in May 2010 Andy McLoughlin, Huddle’s co-founder moved to San Francisco to establish Huddle’s U.S. office. By doing so, we could provide more on-the-ground support for our customers. Organizations across the globe using Huddle include Disney, HTC, Kia Motors, AKQA and Merck.

In the years prior to Huddle opening its U.S. offices, the company hit a number of significant milestones that ensured its service would reach a global audience:

·         Launch at DEMO 08, Palm Desert, California:

In January 2008, we announced the launch of Facebook virtual team workspaces at DEMO 08 and unveiled new product features, including Facebook integration and embedded Web Office tools such as Word and Excel.

·         Huddle Workspaces for LinkedIn, Ning and XING

Huddle developed a bespoke application – Huddle Workspaces – for the LinkedIn network and was chosen as one of only six partners for the launch of LinkedIn’s application platform. The app includes all the key functionality of Huddle, enabling more than 100 million LinkedIn users to get more out of their LinkedIn profile and connections with document sharing and discussions. In July 2009, the Huddle Workspaces application was then rolled out on XING, the leading European business social network with more than 7.5 million users worldwide. A couple of months later, Huddle Workspaces also launched on Ning, the social platform for interests and passions online, making the app available to more than 1.5 million Ning Networks and 33 million Ning Network members.

·         Global partnership deal with InterCall

In February 2009, Huddle partnered with InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider, headquartered in Chicago, IL. The deal enabled InterCall’s customers to access Huddle’s features from their conferences. Customers can schedule phone and web meetings in Huddle and share dial-in details, documents and meeting minutes.

·         Global partnership deal with HP

In November 2009, Hewlett-Packard, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, signed a deal with Huddle, ensuring that the application was made available on commercial PCs, laptops and netbooks across the globe.

·         Integration with Xobni

Last year, Huddle became a gadget in the Xobni sidebar and the company joined our expanding community of global partners, including HP, LinkedIn, Ning and XING. Xobni is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

·         2010: Launched Huddle Google Chrome application

In December 2010, Huddle was launched in Google’s Chrome Web Store. The application can be downloaded here:

Given that there is no business relationship between Google and Huddle, there have been articles published on both eWeek and TechCrunch discussing the possibility of legal action against Google. The Huddle team has worked hard to build its brand visibility worldwide and maintaining this is extremely important.   We have contacted Google about this matter, and our hope and preference, of course, is that this issue reaches a timely and amicable resolution.

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