What Hath Google Wrought?
Traditional UC/UCC players need to think about their role in the future, and there’s really only one role that will be available--the supporting role.
When Google launched its new social-network trial, Google+, it did more than square off against Facebook. It created an explicit model for social-based communication, and that model poses a major threat to the way communication services are created and used. It also creates a model of "unified communication and collaboration" that's different from the earlier models not in how communication is done or how it's organized, but rather how it's conceptualized. In a world where buyers are already looking to the web for their next UC/UCC vision, that could be a major game-changer.
Google+ was built from scratch with the idea that communication grows out of relationships. That means that a portal that organizes potential contacts by how every user perceives their relationships is therefore the logical place from which to jump into a call. Google+ "circles" are groupings of contacts into categories that let users partition their view. Think Facebook with filters that let you look at activity by grouping rather than seeing a big flood of pet videos and political rants. From a view of a circle, a Google+ user can then initiate a "Hangout", meaning that they can create a kind of video meeting, or they can "chat". If you have voice-enabled your Google Chat, it appears that you can call as well.
Even at a basic level, this could be a pretty radical change in mediating communications. Circles could be defined as groupings of workers as easily as categories of acquaintances. That alone would allow Google+ to act as a kind of home base for projects. Project comments posted to a project circle could become the basis for calling/chatting or hanging out in a video sense. And obviously enabling video in this context could potentially facilitate group meetings using something like telepresence. And as if features alone weren't interesting enough, the fact that Google could create collaboration as a subset of the broad social community means that it's more likely that people you need to communicate with would be on the service and available to you using the full range of Google+ features.
Since Google+ is only in a limited-trial stage as I write this, it may seem that I’m presuming success for a still-unfinished concept. Yes, to a degree, but I'm also presuming that Facebook will counterpunch, and they’ve already started to do that with a relationship with Skype. So now we have the established social giant fighting the up-and-coming (estimates are that Google+ has passed the 20 million mark in users already) for supremacy as the home page of social communications. How is that not going to create a major market change?