Monday, September 22, 2014

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Google+ and World Domination

by fouts

If you’re as into social media networks as I am you’d have to have your head in the sand to miss the launch of Google+, a shiny new social network from Google. If you weren’t lucky enough to score an invite, here’s a demo to tease you. The network itself is reminiscent of a mix of the best features of FriendFeed, Facebook and a few other networks, and as Kit Eaton pointed out in her Google+ post on Fast Company the network seems positioned to take over from Foursquare, Instagram, Facebook and maybe even Twitter and Quora.

It’s also got monster potential for Search Engine Optimization since your profile is your Google Profile, and Google just launched changes to some of it’s services to add even more power to the new network:

  • Changes to analytics gives you more information on users who have +1′d your content in Google Analytics.
  • Adding the “Authorship” tag” to syndicated posts will allow users to follow specific authors and list your content on the +1 tab of your Google profile. Which of course means you’ve got to have a Google profile.
  • They’re working on making Profiles and Google+ available for Google Apps.
  • Two of the Google brands, Blogger and Picassa are being re branded, apparently to be more closely related to Google+

Clearly Google has taken on quite a lot with this new play and time will tell how it pans out. They’ve gotten seriously burned with security and privacy issues, and let’s face it, Google Wave was a bust. So why should we think this effort will be a success?

I hate to say it, but I agree a bit with Robert Scoble in his post “Why yo momma won’t use Google+ (and why that thrills me to no end)“. Not totally, just a little. Scoble makes the point that a network that isn’t really even in beta yet is a playground for us geeks and early adopters. Geoff Livingston makes a similar point in his post that for the public to dive into the network right now would be a huge time suck while they figure out if it’s going to be useful and exactly how. After all, how many networks can real people manage at one time? Although this may sound elitist, it’s still true. Don’t waste your time yet unless it’s your job to be an early adopter. As Michael Martine wrote on his blog,”Another Social Network to Suck Away My Time? SERIOUSLY?” joining the bandwagon early might not be the best move except for those of us who make a living testing the shiny new toys. It’s cool, but not all of the “great new things” turned out to be worth it. Like Plurk, Diaspora and Referral Key, this could all be a big waste of energy, this could go the way of Google Wave. I don’t really think so, but just in case.

Personally I’m also pretty concerned with the size of Google’s empire. Really, security breaches aside, when Gmail goes down now it’s a crisis form many corporations who rely on it for email and Google Docs to replace some of the Microsoft suite. Do we really want to put so many eggs in that basket?

My recommendation for a business?
Wait for the dust to settle, and frankly for the invitations to be available again before you get all sweaty palmed about Google+. Yes, for some early adopters there will be a first mover advantage, but it takes a certain kind of business and market to make that work. You know who you are.

This is still the beginning. This post written by Paul Adams, a Facebook employee who recently worked on Google+ states it pretty clearly; we’re only at the beginning of understanding online relationships and how to create networks that fulfill our needs, and there’s room for more than one. There will be more networks to come I promise.

What if you did get into Google+ already?
This post is already long so I’ve split it into two posts. Click here for the Google+ tips and tricks. I’ll update that as I get new information and let you know.

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Have you read my book yet? “Social Media Success! – Practical advice and real-world examples for social media” is available on Amazon

  • http://www.communityorganizer20.com/ Debra Askanase

    Hi Janet, I think you wrote the blog post that I had in my head. That Google is poised for “world domination” is clear, especially as they consolidate their brands under the “one heading to rule them all,” so to speak. However, I disagree that it’s too early. For most new social networks, this too early to play until we can see whether or not it will be a power player. With Google Plus, though, I think it’s clear that Google has re-tooled its past attempts at social networks into something that has real legs. Those who are playing with Google Plus now are giving Google the feedback it needs, through our use of it and the “feedback” tab, so that it can meet our needs. The real question is – do we need another social network? Not really…

  • http://janetfouts.com Janet Fouts

    You’re right Debra, we don’t need another network, but if they can pull the best features of several together people may migrate.
    You’re right too that the feedback tab is a beautiful thing, and it’s great to see real Google developers responding.
    The reason I say not everybody needs to get on it is because I think businesses need to focus on only what adds value, Google+ is a humongous time suck right now. Or is that only for me?

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