Google Growing from Search to Social with Google+?

June 28th, 2011 by | Print

When you hear about a new option for being social on the Internet, do you look at it as an opportunity or something else that you’ll have to do for marketing your business? Google’s betting that they’re going to give you a something so you’ll want to take time away from Facebook to be social on their platform.

If they are going to succeed, they’ll need to do a much better job than simply having Google+ appear while you’re using Google Search like they did with tacking on Google Buzz to Gmail. With Google Buzz not creating much of a … well, buzz … Google says they won’t make the same mistake with their roll out of Google+.

So what is Google offering with Google+ that they’re hoping will have you perceive it as more than just the world’s preeminent search engine? When you bring up Google on your computer, you may notice a black bar across the top with some tabs. Here’s the latest scoop on the features and benefits available to you.

Stream
The Stream is the Google+ equivalent to Facebook’s News Feed. Here you can share content and see what your list of friends are sharing.

Circles
Google looks to differentiate itself from Facebook by allowing users to share different thoughts, photos and other social media with a subset of their total friends list instead of en masse. Their answer is Circles, as in your circles of friends. From the feedback that I’ve received from various regular users on Facebook, this sounds like a big plus. You’ll be able to create circles and drag and drop your friends into those circles.

Hangouts
Do you prefer to have friends invite you to join in to group chats at various hours or do you simply wish to have a system notify you when friends are hanging out in a chatroom so you can pop on in if you want to? Google is betting that you’re likely to choose the latter, hence their creation of Hangouts. Google caps a video chatroom in Hangouts to 10 people. Anyone else that wants to join in the conversation will be put on a waiting list for notification if someone active in the conversation drops out. Plus, Hangouts doesn’t have a small video clip of all participants’ heads up on the screen at the same time; they plan to have only the person talking visible for all to see instead.

Sparks
What sparks your interest from articles, to videos, music, movies and more? Google plans to include this in its Google+ Sparks. Google created an algorithm to gather and rank data based upon results from its Google Search, what’s being shared on Google+ and through its new +1 buttons. With Sparks, Google is trying to make it easy for you to share info and make it easier for you to find what sparks your interests, too.

Mobile
As of January 2011, there were more than 200 million active users (or 40%) of the then active Facebook population using their mobile devices to access the social platform. Facebook also claimed that those using their mobile devices were twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users. Google is betting that those numbers will continue to increase. This isn’t big news, right? What is big news is that Google’s mobile app will auto-upload any photo or video you take on your phone to your computer. It doesn’t make the uploads public. Instead, Google’s app will keep them on your computer for eight hours after upload for you to decide if you want to share them or not.

It will be launching the mobile app for Google+ starting with Android with plans to include apps for other platforms in the future.

Multimedia
Google+ has a section specifically for viewing, managing and editing your multimedia. This includes all photos you’ve shared or have been tagged in. In addition to tagging, Google ups the ante by giving you an image editor, and included privacy and sharing options.

By checking out some of the early comments from some early testers, there seems to be some mixed reviews. Some love the new features and layouts, some are frustrated that Google hasn’t created an app for their platform yet, while others are questioning whether they really need a new social media network.

With hundreds of millions already investing time on a daily basis to activities on Facebook, and with a dismal roll out of Buzz, Google has its work cut out for it to create interest and desire to attract users to its Google+. Some of their initial statements and capabilities seem promising. Let’s see if they can rise to the challenge this time.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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