“Google Plus Social Integration is the game” ~ Well I know that title has some people going!
I have stopped counting how many times I have been in discussions with people who have said they don’t like Google Plus as a social network or believe it is just a fad. What is eye-opening is that when I ask them, “Have you actually used it?” The answer has been “ Well I went on and came off after a day or two ”. How can you possibly make an objective evaluation without really testing the environment?
It seems to me that social media enthusiasts either sit in the Google Plus camp or the Facebook camp. There is this great divide. I am thinking – why do I have to choose? I am pretty clear how I interact with my Facebook network and although I am still figuring out the optimal use of Google Plus, the two sites provide different experiences. Furthermore, I think Google Plus is just one component of Google’s plan on the social arena.
In my previous post, I talked about the different cultures on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Today I am going to speak about the Google Plus culture and functionality.
Let me first start with: Google’s social offering is not just Google Plus.
When I first joined Google Plus, I immediately saw the potential of the integration of their key offerings. The Hangouts and the +1 button were the signals (see my feature in Women of Google Plus). It is about Google Plus social integration. Recently, Stefan Svartling shared a Chris Pirillo video clip on Hangouts and Google Plus. I totally loved it because I thought it hit on key points that describes why we should not be comparing FB and G+. The clip is shown below.
The highlights are:
- Google Plus has provided different opportunities as it relates to Facebook or Twitter.
- Hang-outs gets people to actually talk.
- Although the activity on Google Plus is not as high as Facebook, the integration of YouTube will change the activity level on Google Plus.
- Google Plus circles essentially extends your following of your YouTube network. For example, if you are in Chris Phillo’s circle, you are notified of his videos whether your subscribe or not.
- The +1 will soon be introduced to YouTube and thereby crossing-over to the social arena and increasing the link with Google Plus and Search. The like and dislike buttons will go.
- Think of Google Plus as an extension of YouTube.
- Think of Google Plus as a content production tool.
- Facebook is more about sharing information with people you know. Google Plus is more about connecting and building relationships with people you don’t know.
- Google is in the business of Advertising.
I think these are very important points.
I really think we should stop investing energy on whether you should use Facebook or Google Plus as our social network. But start with, “What are you trying to do?”
Now if you care about increasing your social footprint, your search ranking, extending your audience, having an integrated social experience with the number one search engine on the web and the number one video sharing platform on the web then you may want to consider developing a presence on Google Plus. Just saying . As I said, is is about Google Plus social integration.
With regards to culture, I am certainly making new connections. There is a highly technical presence on Google Plus. There are those who are Google Plus enthusiasts and share their knowledge freely however there is also a large audience that is passionate with the broader definition of media namely; photography, journalism and videos. In my previous post, I described the membership as pioneers. I stand by that, as Google Plus members are still exploring the best way to optimize this social landscape. There is still this ”honeymoon” energy of the early adopters. It is a great time to make those new connections because of this. Now with regards to Google Plus’ functionality and why I call it the Social integrator, here are my 4 key reasons:
Hangouts have been popular ever since the launch of Google Plus. I am a little camera-shy so I cannot claim to be an expert. However, given the success of others, it makes total sense to leverage this. The Hangouts definitely differentiates Google Plus from other social sites and clearly it is Google’s not-so- secret weapon. I think Chris does a great job describing how to use it and its link to YouTube.
Another rising secret weapon is Chrome. The Chrome extensions are to Google Plus, as Apps are to the iPhone. I kid you not! That is my take. It brings the Google Plus experience to another level. There are some great extensions that differentiate the entire experience compared to other networks. There are a vast number to choose from. Checkout:
- Gabriel Vasile : Top 100 Most Popular Chrome Extensions (Nov 2011)- provides a good resource to start. Now he wrote this a few months ago but I do think it gives you a good place to start; and
- My Personal Favorites include:
The +1 button
That simple button is rising as Google’s secret weapon in linking G+ , Google, Search and YouTube. It will tell your social network where you have been and what you liked or recommended. On the other side of the coin, as your content is found in more and more search results; receiving more +1s , your content becomes more relevant and certainly provides wonderful search juice for your search rankings.
Google’s Social Integrated Network. Google Plus Social Integration
So let me bridge from where I started. Google’s social offering is not Google Plus- this is but a small window into what Google appears to be building. When you step back and look at their Chrome browser – the entire header is the social Integrated offering and platform.It is all about Google and Google Plus social integration.
Google Plus is just one puzzle piece that fits perfectly into Google’s jigsaw (or its Lego Masterpiece ). It seems to me that Google’s plan goes far beyond a social network. They have integrated all their social funtionality into one spot so that the user can have a “one-stop shopping ” approach to accessing the web. Let me give you an example: Gmail. When using gmail, not only can you use it as an email system but you have total access to your Google Plus profile and circles. As shown below, you are able to get your G+ notifications without leaving your email; the same is true if you are using Google search. You can edit your circles without leaving your email . With the use of extensions, you can view data about your Google Plus connections. Google has managed to bring all these customer relationship and social related activities into one place. It is seamless.
So while the debate continues about whether to be on Google Plus or Facebook, the plan is so much bigger than that. Google has given us the ability to truely target our audience and key influencers like never before. You can now be more focussed with your content. In turn, that feeds into a more relevant search for the larger audience which consequently makes for better targeted ads for Google. Sweet.
The Social Integration: Google’s True Social Offering.
This is why I say Google’s Offering is one of Social Integration ~ Google Plus social integration. I am loving the strategy!
What is you take?
- The Google+ Redesign is Simple, Functional and Very Social [Video] (socialtimes.com)