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Is Google+ Here to Stay?

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Will Google Plus be around one or two years down the road? Is it here to stay, or another failed attempt by Google to get in on social in a meaningful way? These are important questions. Personally, I’m doing some research for an upcoming book and I’ve been very curious lately as to whether or not Google Plus will still be around when the book gets published. For you, this is a good chance to examine whether or not Google Plus is something you should get involved with. Granted this post does not qualify as scientific research, but since 7 out of 8 random social media experts responded that they felt Google Plus was going to live on when asked whether the service would ultimately survive or die, so you may want to pay some serious attention to what the service has to offer or means to your business/life. Of course, having a working knowledge of the various social media platforms is an important part of the 6 Essential Building Blocks of an effective social media effort.

Are you on Google Plus? Leave us a comment and let us know whether or not you think Google Plus will ultimately survive or die (hey, you might get quoted in my book) or whether or not you agree or disagree with what these 8 experts had to say on the subject.

Here are the 8 statement we received from a random sampling of social media experts on Google Plus’ chances of survival. All but 1 were optimistic.

Brands Are Being Forced to Engage

Contributed by: Brad Jordan, Head of Social Marketing at Receptional

Google+ has brought together all of Google’s products under a single social umbrella. Just last month, the search giant closed the doors on Google Places, replacing it with Google+ Local, bringing all business location results into Google+, a significant step in Google’s march to control the social web. With the overlap of reviews and impending integration with Google+ pages, brands are ultimately being forced to engage with Google’s social network. The ever increasing integration of Google+ signals into search results will also force brands to engage with the platform for SEO reasons. Google made a huge investment in social marketing, with CEO Larry Page directly linking the annual bonuses of over 25 per cent of employees to the success of their social products.

Ultimately, it will stem down to how society evolves. In the future, should we move away from wanting to have social on a single network, Google+ may, as a platform be dusted away into the cupboards along with Google Buzz and Wave, but the social integration of all Google’s products will without doubt continue to evolve, further strengthening each of their products. In some form or another, Google’s social network will remain indefinitely.

A High-Profile Experiment Yields Dramatic Results

Contributed by: Liz Strauss, Founder of SOBCon

I’m in a unique position to play with Google+ and measure it’s impact. I have a visible presence online (a twitter account with 100,000+ followers, a blog with 5000 posts and 94,000 comments) but I also have two small blog with only about 400 posts and minimal comments. So I was able to do a test. Thinking that any site with Google in the name must have some sway online, I did this: I filled out my Google+ profile with the links to all of my online locations. Then I spent one week paying attention to only one keyword while I did the following three things:

  • I posted something new to my Google account every day.
  • I shared 3 three things from my followers offerings.
  • I +1’d 3 more.

Here’s what happened. Both of my smaller blogs moved forward in the SERPs by 3 pages or more. Will Google+ survive? Of course it will. The visibility it offers is outstanding.

Here to Stay, But in What Capacity?

Contributed by: Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital

It is now over one year since Google+ launched, and they reportedly have over 250 million registered users on the site.  That being said, usage of Google+ is extremely low; in February it was reported that Google+ users were spending only 3.3 minutes a month on the site.

Yet it seems that Google+ is here to stay, the real question is in what capacity.  Google has clearly made Google+ a priority and they are committed to the growth of the site.  While the social networking features have not yet caught on, Google is using Google+ to integrate and connect other Google products.  While there are no signs that Google+ is replacing Facebook as a social network to share content with friends, it does appear that Google+ is important for businesses to pay attention to. At the end of May 2012, Google announced that Google Places will now be Google Plus Local, integrating Zagat ratings into the site.  Earlier this year Google launched a test of Google Plus Your World integrating Google+ into search.  These changes show that Google is serious about Google+.  How consumers use the site remains to be seen, but for businesses it is worth paying attention to.

Must Evolve to Match Consumer Needs

Contributed by: Jason Woodford, CEO SiteVisibility

Personally I think Google+ will survive depending on it evolving to match the needs of the consumer. Take a car for example; the VW Golf is nowhere near the same model as it was when it was first launched. The components and accessories have changed and adapted to meet the requirements of the modern consumer. The same can be said in many respects to Facebook, which continues to change almost on a month by month basis. As long as Google+ proves to be flexible and displays a willingness to adapt and change, then it will survive and thrive.

A Level Above LinkedIn

Contributed by: Scott Klososky, speaker and consultant

I suspect Google+ will survive and prosper because Google will have a good ability of providing functionality that sits between what Facebook and LinkedIn will provide. Meaning, LinkedIn will become the business rolodex of the world, and Facebook will become the personal social environment. Google will position G+ as a business community with more functionality than LinkedIn, and a prime place for thought leaders to connect with followers that does not get polluted with lots of personal content and conversation. As more and more people choose the communities they use, and how they use them, people will ultimately settle on a few that play disparate roles in their lives and G+ will find a home there.

Still Dominated by Internet-Based Professionals

Contributed by: Stuart McHenry, President of McKremie

Google+ is becoming more and more useful everyday.  Most sharing still happens on Facebook and Twitter but as Google adds more functionality they will draw in more people.  Google+ Hangouts is an incredibly powerful feature for learning and collaborating on projects.  This is by far the most unique feature and a solid advantage over the other networks.  Currently Google+ seems dominated by Internet based professionals.  In order to gain some real traction they need a cross-over demographic and delivering new features like Google+ Events will help get them there.

Will Become More Integral

Contributed by: Janet Fouts, Social Media coach and CEO of Tatu Digital Media

Google+ is going to continue to morph and become a more integral part of the everyday user’s life that’s fun and easy to use. Currently that’s not the case, and it’s a big problem for Google. There are tons of stories about people abandoning it, but every time I log in and read a few posts I say, “Hey, I need to come here more often”. The problem is it’s still painful to use. Pages are difficult to monitor, if I l leave it open it freezes my browser (Chrome, their own browser!) and none of the tools I regularly use sync with it. I love the new iPhone app, which is well designed and gorgeous, but they need to make the whole thing super easy to use or their user base will fade off into the sunset.

My Mom Couldn’t Care Less

Contributed by: Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing

I think it will die. Take the recent launch of the “Events” function. People are already using it to spam others about non-targeted, sometimes not even actual events. Fellow marketers are screaming how great the SEO value is, but my mom and most of the general public couldn’t care less. I’m concerned when the number one reason for using a “social” site is for search engine value. It’s like going to a new networking event and only speaking in key words.

 

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27 comments

  1. Google is imho more able to express innovativeness than Facebook, therefore growing faster, and over time perhaps able to let + grow bigger than Facebook. But I predict this will take more than one or two years for that to happen.

    1. Definitely. It would take a large time investment from Google to overtake Facebook, but interestingly, I wonder if that is Google’s true end goal. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Agreed.
    I think Google Plus has staying power. But, I don’t see Google Plus as similar to Facebook. I see it as a content- and feature-rich competitor to Twitter. Facebook will become the AOL People Connection of this era of connectedness, but Google Plus takes on an entirely different role because it will ultimately encompass all other Google services and functionality (from Gmail to image search and beyond).

    1. Intriguing. I wonder how Google views Plus internally… as a competitor to Twitter, Facebook or neither (a different goal entirely). Thanks for posting your thoughts.

    2. Good point, I agree. Facebook will be more about personal news and features, Google+ will help me organize the “outer” web based on personal and social recommendations.

  3. IMO G+ is The Google Platform, so it’ll survive as long as Google survives (and I suppose it’ll be for a long time…). It’s powerful (you can do almost everything you can in other Social Networks), easy to use, comfortable (I can easily share and know when someone replies me just from Google search page!!) and it’s continuously evolving. In addition (and this is a very important thing) it’s very customizable. You can say it’s not the same thing as FB. Of course! I would not use it if it was!!!

    For sure some people will be at the beginning lazy about using it, but this also happened to FB and Twitter!

    1. True. I did create a DailyTekk profile on Google+ but haven’t done so on Facebook… not quite sure why, but maybe it has to do with the reasons you stated. Thanks for sharing!

  4. g+ is a ‘me too’ product and will forever live under the shadow of FB. Even Facebook and Twitter have become stale for me. My blog on this -http://www.rahulbalyan.com/2012/05/why-i-am-bored-of-facebook-and-twitter/

  5. I think many people look at Google Plus way too literally. In my view, it’s not a question of whether or not it will be around as a social network. Google is first and foremost a search company. Argurably, I think Google has tried so hard to break into search for the “social data.” The more they integrate their existing products (Places, Search, Profiles, etc.), the more data they have on people. This helps their ad efforts and two, it poises a significant threat to Facebook (not in terms of users, but in terms of trying to get access to more social data about said users).

  6. Ha! This is brilliant. Seven people (experts?) spouting about SEO, SERP (that’s quite the acronym you used there), and evolution, and then someone has the guts to actually say no, since the key user base (moms!) have no idea how to use it or WHY to use it. They already use Facebook, why would they use this?

  7. I agree with Scott Stratten on this point: “I’m concerned when the number one reason for using a ‘social’ site is for search engine value.”

    That said, I think the issue there isn’t the social network — it’s the marketers who are trying to justify their presence on a platform that just so happens to be giving them a noticeable leg up in search rankings. If that’s the sole selling point for Google+, I agree completely that it’s alarming — especially for someone like me, who believes that true engagement comes from organic (or at least properly targeted) discovery and that strong brands push who they are and what they stand for instead of products.

    I was an early adopter on Google+ and have grown a relatively large following there by starting conversations about (surprise!) Google+ itself and how consumers might choose to leverage it as a platform. To those of us who started early and have found ourselves playing the evangelist role, it’s a no-brainer that Google+ is valuable because it is fundamentally about the interest graph and not so much about who you already know in real life (sorry, Mrs. Stratten).

    As a consumer, you can discover a ridiculous amount of content and consequently, new content-creators as a result of that. It’s about discovery. It makes sense that this kind of approach also happens to make the SEO aspect more prominent — if it’s a platform chiefly about interests as connectors (instead of just people/relationships), then keywords do seem destined to play a large role. But Google has been marketing Google+ as an emotional fulfillment platform that will let you Hangout with your grandma. Trust me when I say the G+ core community collectively facepalms when we see those commercials because they totally miss the mark. The value proposition of Google+ ain’t about talkin’ to Grandma for us. Maybe we’re the minority and maybe none of our experiences mean anything in the larger scheme, but I’m not convinced of that yet.

    We evangelists will always come back to the level of engagement we see. Certain behaviors on Google+ seem to lend themselves to higher engagement: people who really dive in head first and take Google+ seriously have been having a grand old time. They grow huge followings by interacting sincerely with the people who interest them.

    Are there warts and growing pains? Of course. But I don’t think we can put all the nails in the coffin just yet.

  8. Now that G+ is trying to seperate itself from the FB comparisons, I see can see it evolving and sticking around for quite some time. With the G devs behind it, we can be sure they will be pushing out oodles of new features . Some will work, some won’t — but either way we will keep talking about it. Win.

  9. Hello Chris,

    I don’t understand the need people have to compare Facebook and Google+ — and draw conclusions that the latter is a ghost town. It’s getting annoying because it is very untrue.

    Why is it untrue?

    1) Engagement on G+ is about quality, not quantity.
    2) People share more “professional” content
    3) The purpose of G+ has always been different from Facebook

    Overall, I find the G+ community more geeky, but also more classy.

    Whether G+ will survive or not is not really an issue here. The incessant bashing of the platform has to stop.

    In my opinion, it would be more relevant to focus on the blunders Facebook has been making for the last year and a half.

    Thank you for the post!

  10. I agree with Scott most (as he pointed out, have you seen his Klout score? :) ).

    It’s easy for most experts to say that it’s going to stay and that it’s great because they have large and engaged followings. In other words, they don’t have the “average user experience.” For people who aren’t concerned with their personal SEO, SERP, or anything else, there isn’t a huge draw for G+. And even for people like me who do have a blog to promote and are involved in social media and marketing, it doesn’t have a huge advantage over Facebook and Twitter where more of my engaged target audience is.

    The best thing that G+ has going for it as it relates to wide appeal is the Hangout. The ability to video chat with so many people at once is a huge draw for me and others.

    Could it survive as a social network just for marketers, technology buffs, and similar fields? Yes. Will it ever have the broad appeal that other social networks have? In it’s current form? No.

  11. Why speculate? It’s got a long way to go to catch up.

    I’m an early adopter but I don’t use it much because not a lot is going on. People add me to their circles every couple of days, the presentation is attractive but I don’t have time to figure any of it out.

    It’ll work if people pick it up. If most people are as time pressed as I am it doesn’t seem likely.

  12. With over a million and a half followers on Google Plus, I see how amazing the site can be when you put in a wee bit of initial effort.

    I’ve met over 200 people in real life who i didn’t know before Google Plus. I’ve been on a cruise with some girlfriends I met there. I’ve seen the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids and mobile tours of cities in all parts of the global from my living room in their free Google Hangouts. I have weekly discussion on TV shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones with other fans around the world in targeted circled posts.

    Besides SEO benefits… Is it here to stay? Of course. Just have a look for some of that G+ magic,, cause there sure its lots of it.

    1. Advertizement Paid for by Google+ Staff.

      And here I thought Google frowns on Keyword jamming, lol, obvious employee.

      1. I sourced all of these contributors myself, of my own volition. This article couldn’t be further from a paid advertisement. In fact, the person who got the most attention was the one who disagreed.

  13. […] – Efficient Collaboration Hangouts may be the coolest feature of Google+. It’s a group video chat function that enables fluidity in conversation. People can join or leave freely depending on the chat’s settings. Whether business partners are chatting from across seas or employees work remotely, Google+ Hangouts brings everyone together into the same room. “Google+ Hangouts is an incredibly powerful feature for learning and collaborating on projects,” Stuart McHenry, president of McKremie, told Daily Tekk. […]

  14. I for one, am opting out of Google+ even if it means I’m blocked from accessing my YouTube, Gmail and iGoogle accounts. Apparently Google+ is now being foisted on YouTube logins, brute-force joining of G+ or you can’t access your YT channel. Let the exodus begin.

    Besides, my privacy is worth more than Google’s invasion and monetization of everything I do online. I’m starting to hate them more than Micro$oft, I certainly never thought the day would come, and here we are already.

    Google is turning to the dark side faster than it can speak its slogan, “Don’t Be Evil.”

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