Friday, July 15, 2011

Google+ is a just one piece in Google's puzzle

Google+ is not competing with Facebook. Of course, Google people has been doing benchmarking, but Google+ is just one piece in Google's big picture, their strategy in the long run. Google is known of its search engine, but where comes the money from? Advertising and apps.

Google+ will collect users very fast and the one reason is that they already have these users. Probably they have hundreds of millions different users in their service portfolio. When people are completing their profiles, Google can offer new demographic targeting methods for advertisers.

I guess it's just a matter of time when we are seeing ads in Google+. At least we will see company profiles later on and that's for sure. So, in the future, advertisers can target their adds for example to Google+ users who are married women, between 30-40 years, living in a certain city, interested in certain things (Sparks). Like Facebook does.

I wonder if Google is able to use this information and integrate it with other data they have? That's an interesting question. In addition, if you are sharing your location either from your mobile device or browser, you can target advertising to people near a certain place. This feature is already integrated in Android application to Google's local business solution.

Your company's address information integrates with Google Maps. In Google's local business center you can create special offer coupons and Google offers are launching now in the US. Suddenly, Google Maps has already social features like star ratings, reviews and photo uploads. With Android app you can check-in like with Foursquare. Maybe Google+ app is within Android OS in the near future.
"Google is using G+ and other products to serve more sophisticated advertising solutions."
For companies, Google offers several other useful services. From advertising and optimizing point of view, there are Adwords, Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Website Optimizer, just to name few. These are more or less integrated with each other nowadays, creating a powerful toolset to reach the target audience and optimize your (online) business. When company profiles and ads are getting in to Google+, I'm convinced that analytics will follow very soon.

Let's get Google's recommendations into this mess. Google brought its own like button called +1. Today, you can see these +1 recommendations in Google+, natural search results and paid ads in search results. My recommendations is that you get that button to your website as well. May be, some day, these recommendations are part of Google's search algorithm...or recommendations are affecting on the CPC prices.

Why you should change from Facebook or Twitter to Google+? 

Answer is simple for heavy users: you don't have to. People who are in Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. will use Google+ as a part of social media. Still, I bet that all of these social media platforms will have hard time with Google+ in the long run. But beware: Google+ has some really cool features.

I accidentally jumped into a podcasting session this morning via Google+. It was held by Vision with Technology (Tony Wood and Manpreet Dhesi) and it was done with Google+ Hangout. Very cool experiment and definitely useful for businesses. Group chat called Huddle is also nice and easy to use with people in your circles and even with mobile app.


Relationships in Google+ circles are not to both directions how it's in Facebook. You can follow people like in Twitter just by adding them into one of your circles. They can follow you but they don't have to. These circles are very useful when you don't want to bother your business contacts about family news and so on.

For photo editing and sharing I have been using Picasa many years now and I really like how it's integrated with Google+. Especially how it's showing the photo stream and albums inside the Google+. The Android app is uploading all photos to Google+ automatically so they are already in there, if I want share photos. For videos there is probably some Youtube technology behind and I'm quite confident that we will see more integrations to Google Apps (calendar = events, docs).

For now it seems that Google Apps is not supporting Profiles and therefor Google+. This is a challenge that Google has to fix and the other one being multiple profiles / Google accounts (business/personal). Anyway, Google has a huge potential to up-sell and cross-sell Google Apps with Google+ and even Android OS.

To wrap this up I ask the question: do you still think Google is competing with Facebook? I think Google is competing with lots of other companies at the same time, including Twitter, 4sq, Skype, Microsoft...Let me know your thoughts about this?

11 comments:

  1. I believe Google+ is, in the end, also largely about search, social and mobile search. Pete, I think we should put the question the other way around and ask if Facebook & Co. are competing with Google in... ;)

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  2. Yes indeed Ekku,

    it seems that there's small group of people in Finland who actually know about Google. For the rest it is the traditional search engine in web. That said, Google+ might be a game opener for Google's other products and services... ;)

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  3. To me Google Plus is a start of a new era: We still don't even grasp the possibilities and the change it will make in our way of approaching social media life.

    Educational and business uses are limitless, still hard to even imagine how it will be useful to incorporate everything Google under the big umbrella that will be.

    I've studied the platform extensively now since 30th June and I must say that FB and Twitter are now necessary (?) evils in my everyday life...

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  4. I agree with you Jaana,

    I think there's plenty to come from Google when they get all integrations in place. For now, Google+ seems like more "mature/adult" platform than Facebook and therefor it may be much more interesting for companies.

    I have to admit that I'm spending more time with Google+ than FB and Twitter too and I really hope that e.g. Tweetdeck will have G+ integration soon.

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  5. I signed to G+ just few days ago and had a look, what's going on there. By the short view, didn't got any idea about it or why should I be there or not to be there. This blog opened some points of it for me. It might really be that Google is competing with all mentioned companies and some others. i find it interesting to see it and to see how companies are getting on to it. Are they really focusing to G+ instead of Facebook? Actually should we ask if this is the real begining of Sosial Media. However, so far I find G+ quite difficult to use after FB. There are some logical differences on it, compairing to FB.

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  6. Thanks for your comment Otso,

    I'm glad that my post gave you some new insights. There are tons of blog posts about Google+ and some of them are explaining Google's overall strategy or "social vision".

    Indeed, Google+ is a social layer with integrates several products of Google. I found comparison with Facebook little bit silly. I guess you have to learn out some of the FB logic.

    When they launch company profiles, we will see even more potential for companies. It's also very exciting to see the speed of Google+ development (in general) in the future.

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  7. I also heard some speculations that Google will use these +1 buttons as a tool in ranking websites on search engine results. If more internet users voted on your webpage, your website will have better chances of being visible on Google search results.

    White Label SEO

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  8. I believe that Google+ is definitely competing with Facebook. It is also aiming to make the service more compelling to youth. For example this weekend members of the Google+ team are representing at Lollapalooza youth rock festival. They will be demoing Google+ and letting people sign up in their G+ lounge. They even have a Google+ stage with bands playing.

    Google plus does not yet have features like games, fan clubs, brand/company pages etc but they are all coming and im sure there will be some serious marketing efforts in the future.

    For example they are all the time trying to get celeberties to use the service as their number one channel. Like Paris Hilton: https://plus.google.com/114055975301837030490/posts

    I believe that Google+ big picture is to take over Facebook/Twitter and maby even LinkedIn and make the young and the old use it. It is not yet up to the challenge but I am sure it will look very different after a year or so when they have built more features.

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  9. Thanks for your comments,

    @Rainier I believe that sites with +1's are ranking higher at the moment, especially if you are logged in. And I'm pretty sure that they will eventually have a meaning with rankings in general.

    @Anonymous I have said this many times before: wait and see. And remember that Google+ has been out about a month. I'm convinced that there will be many nice features coming up.

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  10. I'm looking forward for Google+ growth in the market. As a developer myself I am just waiting for Google+ game releases so I could make games for my own and eventually gain profit from them.

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  11. Google hangout is that make Google+ different from other social media sites like facebook, twitter etc. Google is king of search engine and they will put all their best to be a king on Social media also. So its good for user to use Google+ for social media

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