Google's most successful foray into
social media so far, Google +, is
reported to have recruited over 20 million users in just over two
weeks. Time will tell whether it is a worthy long-term competitor
to the two behemoths of social media, Facebook and Twitter, but
it's an impressive beginning.
Brands have clearly shown early
enthusiasm for Google+ with many jumping straight
on and creating profile. However, Google have been very clear that
this incarnation of Google+ is very much for real people, not
brands. But is this a sensible approach?
There can be no doubt that, in the
long term, brands will be crucial to the future success of Google+.
Especially for the average user, the key reason to add Google+ to
their repertoire of online spaces will be whether there is enough
interesting and relevant content to keep them interested. While
some of us might find the early-mover tech and marketing chat
interesting, people in the real world are more interested in
relevant, useful content which, for the most part is produced (or
at least facilitated) by brands.
But brands will only go where their
potential audience is so an emphasis on making Google+ a viable
online space for people, before introducing brands, might be a
smart move. There's no doubt that some of the innovation Google+
has introduced, for instance Circles, have the potential to make
the platform a better environment for discretely sharing content
amongst specific groups of people than either Twitter or Facebook
currently provide and this might be one key to growing user
However, it's a bit of a chicken and
egg question. Brands will only go where there is a critical mass of
potential customers and those customers will only use a platform
where there is sufficient entertaining, interesting or useful
content, mostly provided by their favourite brands. However, in the
short term, a focus on getting the consumer proposition and
interaction right feels like a good move.
Certainly, Google have deep enough
pockets to wait before they introduce money-making opportunities
for brands, and themselves. The integration of social behaviour and
search data has been a holy grail for some time now and I wouldn't
bet against Google making this happen with this new platform.
Whatever happens next, we can be sure that Google will have their
eye on the ease with which they can monetise the site in the longer
What is Google +?
Google+ is a social
networking application conceived as a competitor to the currently
dominant Facebook. It has differentiated itself from Facebook
through the inclusion of a number of innovative new features
Circles: this allows users to
create different groups of contacts with whom they can share
information helping you avoid sending the same 'funny' video to
your work colleagues as you do to your friends.
Huddle: is a group messaging
application, which allows group, rather than one-to-one,
discussions which might be useful when, for example, arranging a
Sparks: dubbed a 'sharing
engine' by Google, this app lets you easily share interesting
content from around the web with your contacts.
Hangouts: a video chat app
which allows you to speak in real time with up to ten people.
This blog was first posted here on allmediascotland.com.