September 12, 2011
With the recent launch of Google’s social network there has been a lot of discussion over whether this Google venture will actually take off, and whether it has the ability to supersede the biggest social network on the planet, Facebook.
In many ways Google+ has advantages over Facebook. For starters it can use Facebook as its blueprint for what to do and what not to do. While Facebook saw a fast evolution of success, it still took a couple of years for brands to catch on to the commercial potential of the platform and for it to become an open platform (previously was exclusively for university students).
Another main advantage Google has over Facebook is that it’s the world’s largest search engine. Google currently accounts for two-thirds of every internet search. These features will be integrated into the social platform to expand its reach as well as what it can offer its users.
Many of Google+’s features will be the same as Facebook’s which begs the question, why would people want to change platforms? Facebook, in many ways, has become a social home for its users. People have been on in since 2004, and have connected with hundreds of new and old friends. Their photos and personal information are all there, so why would they start from scratch? Knowing this, Google+ has to differentiate their offering in as many ways as they can. A few unique features it has are:
1. Circles: ‘The easiest way to share things with college buddies, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss.’ Divide people into circles ie. ski crew, San Diego peeps, Nan & Grandpa and communicate with them in a relevant, organised and focused way.
2. Hangouts: ‘Let friends know that you’re free for a video hangout any time, anywhere. Then catch up, watch YouTube or just hang out. With hangouts, the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Let specific buddies (or entire circles) know you’re hanging out and then see who drops by for a face-to-face chat.’
3. Sparks: ‘A feed of only the things that you’re really into, so when you’re free, there’s always something waiting to be watched, read or shared.’ If you’re into fashion, tell Sparks and it will send you stuff it thinks you’ll like.
Moreover, Google+ offers:
– Integrated Google advertising
– Excellent data and analytics
– Integration with Google Apps
– Customer sign up for specific channels
– Video chat and hangouts
– Segmenting and organizing brand customers/fans/influencers for insight
– Business user appeal
– Extension of SEO
– Encouragement for users to +1 search listings
– Could offer customized skin options for brands – like YouTube, unlike Facebook
– Hangout + YouTube Live integration (in progress) – watch and chat simultaneously
– future Maps and Places integration
– Search – Google’s universal search will be stronger than Facebook
– Users the option to subscribe to official Google blog, G+ developers and Google Labs
It’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for Google+.
Article by Tamara Jacobs. Adaptive Consultancy is a London-based digital agency specializing in web development, design, ecommerce and internet marketing. Services include search engine optimization, paid search, email and social media marketing. For more on online marketing companies visit http://www.adaptiveconsultancy.com/