Why I am not sleeping on Google+

NapIn case you haven’t heard, Google has launched a new network for its users, Google+. Some are calling it a Facebook killer, while others are calling it dead.

Both of these groups are wrong.

Sure Google+ has some social components, but it is far from a social network, rather it’s a means to make search smarter.  Sure it’s 40 million user-base is dwarfed by those of Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn, but none of them have the user base of Google.  Think I am wrong? Think again.

If you have used Google search, YouTube, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Docs or Google Voice, you are a Google User.  Chances are that you rely on one if not more of these (or other Google products) products on a daily basis. In a way Plus is an extension of those products and is a connective thread that allows you to interact with all of them without leaving a single dashboard.

Despite this convenience, Google has two problems. The first is that the network is still in its infant stages and has some maturing to do in terms of features and user base. The other is that the network has an identity problem because it is being looked at as a social network. And yes, I did hear that audible grunt from you with hearing yet another social network.

If I was a member of the Google product or PR team, I would spin the product as search evolved and simplified, mainly because everyone likes easy and everyone knows Google beasts search.

Sure Google laid some eggs in Wave and Buzz but this new network has already shown a few features that have me thinking that Google+ is like an MLB slugger ready to break out of  a slump including:

Circles – have you ever shared something on Facebook and heard about it from a co-worker or family member and regretted it? It’s ok to admit. Even with their new lists it is easy to screw up. With Circles, Google allows you to share an experience, story or image with a certain circle of trusted friends. Heck you could even tell your boss, co-workers and drinking buddies about that recent conference in Vegas in completely different ways.

Hangouts – the hangout feature of Google+ is a lot like Skype, but on steroids. Not only can you have multiple people on the chat but you can also record or live stream. Once you’re done, you can simply discard or share on YouTube.

Photo Integration – I don’t take the world’s most awesome pictures. The new photo integration of G+ allows users to edit photos before uploading them. So while it isn’t Photoshop, it still offers some fixes for straight from camera shots.

Brand Pages – The new brand pages still need a lot of work, there is no question about it. The one thing that I think shows promise is that companies of all sizes can cater a content experience to users by segment by using the Circles functionality. As the pages evolve, brands that cater to a mixed crowd won’t have to man multiple pages but can have either product specific or customer segment specific Circles without the fear of putting off one with heavy messaging for another.

YouTube Integration – I love services like Pandora or Spotify, but at times get a craving for a particular artist after hearing one song. Instead of having to build a new playlist or waiting for an artist to pop up, by simply typing an artist’s name into the YouTube box, you get a generated playlist. I must admit that I have used this a few times and am addicted. An added benefit is that you won’t have to worry about potentially over-share like another service hooked into Facebook.

While I do see these five features as building blocks for Google+, only time will tell if the plethora of Google users will adopt the platform. Until then, I think it’s too early to be playing grim reaper, but still wouldn’t be running to the store to pick up a book telling you how to use it for business. Play around with it and see how it can benefit you or your clients. What are your thoughts of Google+?

Image – flickrized

11 Responses to Why I am not sleeping on Google+
  1. Tinu
    November 14, 2011 | 1:57 pm

    You’re right, G+ has one main problem{: the way it’s marketed. DId you read recently that a Google rep said that G+ is Not a social network? Interesting…

  2. jeffespo
    November 14, 2011 | 1:59 pm

    @Tinu Its not a social network, but more of a web-based glue that holds their tools together better and is there to make search smarter.

  3. ElissaFreeman
    November 14, 2011 | 10:05 pm

    At last! Someone explains Google + to me! Okay…I’m going to take baby steps here and start experimenting…I’ll let you know how it goes…

  4. wendyroan
    November 15, 2011 | 9:30 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Many have written about Google+. Thanks for highlighting benefits in comparison to other sites. Tinu talked about marketing. They should consider co-opting your analysis. Thanks!

  5. jeffespo
    November 15, 2011 | 10:14 am

    Sounds good. Are we in each other’s circles dear?

  6. jeffespo
    November 15, 2011 | 10:14 am

    @wendyroan 🙂 its just an observation. It is still in baby step mode, but the things I like can be a great foundation.

  7. JonCifuentes
    November 17, 2011 | 12:40 am

    Jeff – how goes it! Question for you. What about Google+ as a collaboration tool for enterprises? Seems to Jive with those that rely on google enterprise for email and storage.

  8. jeffespo
    November 17, 2011 | 8:45 am

    @JonCifuentes Hey mate. I think it can be used internal especially with the closed circles. I can see the hangouts working extremely well for collaboration as well. We all know that face-to-face meetings are better than phone or email. It’s price point and multi-user capability make it better suited for this than a Skype and cheaper than a Cisco system. They have invested a bunch at building it out so who knows. I have never used the enterprise tools, so couldn’t comment on that, but to my understanding all will be tied into the interface, similar to what they rolled out for YouTube today.

  9. ToddBartlett
    November 29, 2011 | 12:57 am

    Jeff-Great post. For the past few months I have been trying to spend more time on G+ but my interest quickly fizzles. The stream is one of the most annoying features. Maybe I am just used to 140 character limit but there seems to be too much information on each post. However, I realize that G+ has much to offer and your post has motivated me to get back on G+ and dig a little deeper.

  10. jeffespo
    November 29, 2011 | 6:03 am

    @ToddBartlett Thanks Todd. The stream is one of the easier things to optimize as you can break it into circles and pick what you actually see. Think of it as a RSS reader on crack where folks suggest content with a lead.

  11. […] Mounting Minuses at Google+ – at some point Google is going to have to do something about Google+. This can be a rebrand a search evolved or just a connective tool to their products. Currently the […]

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