Google has thrown down the Gauntlet to Facebook by introducing its latest attempt to tap into the increasingly important Social media scene. Google+ is the latest big thing to come out of the Google camp, following on from two previous social platform failures in recent years.
Google plus promises to be different from previous social failures in that this is a totally new approach from Google. This new service will also tie together all of Google’s current services such as G-mail and its popular video streaming service YouTube.
Google+ is currently only open by invitation and no actual date for a full launch has yet been announced, but it’s coming, because Google needs it. (comment below and I’ll send you an invite)
Google+ has been deliberately structured with a similar look and feel as Facebook, with some very similar functionality such as profile pictures, video uploads and news feeds
However, one of the fundamental differences is the way “Friends” will be structured in Google+. A user’s friends or contacts are grouped into specific circles of the users choosing – as opposed to the common pool of friends used in the Facebook model.
To create Google+, the company went back to fundamentals in the wake of its previous notable failures, including Google Wave and Google Buzz, a micro-blogging service whose launch was marred by privacy issues.
Google learned a lot from the failures particularly that of Google Buzz, and one of the things they learned is that there’s a real marketing opportunity for a Social Media product that addresses people’s concerns around privacy and how their personal information is shared. This is something Facebook has been grappling with since it was launched and continues to plague them to this day.
Google generally gets more than one billion visitors a month to its websites in any given month, but research suggests that people spend more time on Facebook than they do one Google and in terms of measuring success or failure online, time is more valuable than visitor numbers, something Google is all too aware of.
Just like Facebook, Google+ will have a central web page that runs a current constantly updating conversation stream of comments, photos and links being shared by its users, their contacts and friends.
If you are at all familiar with other Google services, you will notice that they all share a toolbar that generally sits across the top of the site. This toolbar allows users to access their personalised data feed. In Google + this toolbar will enable users to add the information in their other Google accounts to the news stream directly from the toolbar. They can then contribute their own information to the stream.
Google+ is also working on a live conference video chat facility, where up to ten people can jump on a conference call.
Google is also going to automatically store photos taken on mobile phones on its Internet servers, allowing a Google+ user to access the photos from any computer and share them across the service.
Google executives have given this social expansion project its highest priority and Google is keen to build its own social presence to take on Facebook directly.
Google recognizes that it’s position as the main gateway to online information could be at risk as people spend more time on other social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Google also realizes that enticing people to yet another social media site may be an uphill battle especially when they are pitching against Facebook, their main rival and the biggest Social site on the web.
To achieve dominance and set its self apart from Facebook, Google+ is taking a very hard look at personal privacy at the core of this service. This is one of the Hot topics currently causing the most consumer pain and ne of the most important aspects to get right. Privacy issues have caused Facebook and Google a lot of grief in recent years, something else Google is keen to avoid.
Social media is fast forming into the critical mass of most online users. the potential for commercialization and financial domination are only just being realized and that’s why Google is spending so much time, energy and resources trying to find its place in the growing social web.
Google+ is still under construction and won’t be widely available until later in 2011. However one thing is becoming increasingly clear. Social media is only going to become increasingly important to business in the near future and those who are best placed to take advantage of this opportunity are going to grow and grow fast.
ps. If you would like a Google + invite, just leave a comment with your addy below and I’ll send you one 🙂
Many thanks to @Kevin W Baker for sharing this article with me!
http://fanpagebydesign.com is a Social Media Consultancy and design company based in Victoria British Columbia Canada. We specialize in building Facebook fanpages for small local business to give them a viable social presence and to provide websites designed and optimised for their local market. We know social media, our clients know their business. Working together we can design a social media program to grow your business using locally derived traffic and the power of social media.
More info about Google Plus on Mashable