Why I Like Google+

google-plus-features1I like Google+. I also realize the majority of Strumings readers are not users of Google+…yet, and may never be.  I do however think Google+ has a real future. Obviously, its parentage gives it a real shot, yet Goggle has stubbed its toe before in social media (see Google Wave and Buzz) , so success is not a certainty, but I think Google has it right this time.

As part of my social media field trip to California last month our business group visited the offices of Google as well as Facebook & LinkedIn. At Google we heard from Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President Social Business of Google. He was incredibly impressive. On his intellect alone my impression of Google+  increased. He said to our group, “Social will be the kerosene to our existing ad spaces”. Given their omnipresence as an ad machine, they are deeply committed to the kerosene.

For those of you who are still trying to figure it out, here are the Google+ basics:

Google + was introduced in late June 2011 and is a “Facebook-like” social media platform with some differences. Given Facebook’s omnipresence (850 Million worldwide subscribers and growing), one could naturally question whether a similar platform is necessary.

My friends at MayoSeitz Media wrote about Google + when it was first launched in mid 2012. Here is some background from their MayoSeitz Media Monitor

Basically, Google+ is a social network, much like Facebook. Its Stream is similar to Facebook’s News Feed. But Google+ has some unique features. The biggest difference is the segregation of your contacts into various segments called Circles – work, friends, family, high school buddies – whatever circle one wishes to create. This makes it easier to send “appropriate info” to the specific audiences. There are no more concerns when your boss wishes to connect. Just put him/her into the work circle and be sure to communicate how hard you are working, how much you love your job, etc. while at the same time telling your friends in another Circle how brutal your job is and how your boss is a jerk. No worries. “Our goal is to make sharing on the web like sharing in real life,” said Google CEO Larry Page. “In real life we share different things with different people.”  This is a step-up from Facebook for those who have the concern that all of their friends are privy to all of their information and postings.

There’s also another fascinating feature called “Hangouts,” Google’s new group video chat feature. It allows you to start a chat and you are instantly in a video chat room alone. At the same time, a message goes out to the circle you chose, letting your contacts know you are “hanging out.” Friends in that circle can then join the hangout. Very cool. The business applications for a free multi-person business conversation are significant.

booksFor those who have greater interest in finding out more details on the Google+ platform I recommend an inexpensive book called What the Plus! by Guy Kawasaki

How has Google+ done to date? Interestingly while there are now 110 Million users in less than one year, some still consider it a start up and question its longevity. I suspect the future will be a bright one for Google+. The growing universe of users of Google products can easily see the Google marketing strategy in their tool bar–everything from Google+, search, Google Play (previously the Android Market), gmail and more right on your fingertips without switching platforms. Google makes it easy. Consumers follow. I am still figuring it out, but enjoying doing so.

Feel free to circle me on Google+. Then we can Hang Out…

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