Attention: Google is on a mission to take over the world. Wait, didn’t Google already conquer the world? Let’s just say they’re on a path of world domination with no signs of slowing anytime soon. Google has its fingers in everything from search to social networking to tech gadgets.
Google Experiences Its Fair Share of Failures
But Google’s adventures outside the world of search haven’t always been successful. Google Buzz, in fact, failed—and failed pretty miserably, at that. But why? It was implemented as an opt-out feature for Gmail users. Users didn’t respond so well to having their data utilized essentially without their permission, and many were angry.
Yet, Google+ works in a similar way—anyone with a Gmail account has a Google+ account. But in today’s environment of automatic data capture and research, users seem to have come to accept the idea that anything they do in Gmail, Google search or even across the web is going to be monitored and used to target ads and other research purposes. And Google+ doesn’t act in quite the same aggressive, intrusive manner that Buzz did.
Yes, you can access G+ from within your Gmail account. But everyone you’ve ever interacted with via your Gmail account isn’t automatically pulled into your Circles—that part remains your choice, although you do get recommendations and the option to incorporate all your existing connections if you choose to do so.
Google Puts Lessons to Use in Google+
Google Buzz was a rushed attempt to get in the social networking game, aiming to compete at some level with the likes of Facebook and Twitter with a micro-blogging format. But it just didn’t work. There was no incentive for users to take advantage of Buzz’s features—of which there were pretty few. It was basically just another place to post status updates that no one would ever see.
Google+, on the other hand, was built incorporating lessons learned through the failure of Buzz and other Google ventures. Google+ is feature-rich and stretches beyond what were the existing limits of Facebook with options such as Hangouts, which both capitalized on YouTube (another Google property) and provided yet another medium to connect with collaborators, customers and connections.
Google+ Uses Smart Integration
While Buzz seemed like something developers dreamed up as a last-minute attempt to get into the social game without much forethought, it’s clear that Google+ has been thoroughly thought-out. Google’s latest foray into the social scene takes advantage of a careful analysis of what’s working within other social networks, doing them a little better and adding ancillary features that can’t be found anywhere else.
As a result, Google+ now has other social platforms trying to replicate its success in some areas. Facebook’s profile page updates have taken a cue from the visual appeal of the Google+ look, for instance. And Facebook’s lists feature was enhanced at a time that made it look suspiciously as though it was a response to Google+ Circles—something Facebook has never admitted.
Why Google+ Isn’t Going Anywhere
Criticisms surrounding who’s copying who aside, Google+ just flat-out isn’t going to fall off the map. At least not anytime soon, and the search giant is constantly at work enhancing existing features and rolling out new ones. By now, they would have stopped pouring so many resources into the platform if it had a chance of big, fat failure.
Google+ has become the central component—the sun in the middle of the Google solar system, if you will. All of Google’s platforms are integrated with the platform, including Gmail, YouTube, and even search.
- You now have Google Authorship which uses Google+ profiles to attribute ownership to content around the web. Bloggers are flocking to this feature in droves to boost their popularity and personal brand across the web.
- Content that is shared on Google+ has a heavy impact on search rankings.
- Regular users are adopting the power of automated cloud-storage backup if they’ve posted personal photos there. (This can even be done using a private circle, so no one else can see it.) Lose your phone? If you’ve posted your photos to G+, that’s not a problem for you.
- You have the plus-one button all around the web and within your search results, which can function as a simple bookmarking tool.
- Google Places is integrated with Google+, attracting local businesses everywhere.
- You can host a virtual meeting for free with collaborators, or host a webinar—free—and broadcast it for eternity on YouTube. Still think Hangouts are weird?
So what’s the point of all this? Stop thinking about Google+ as a potential replacement for Facebook. Google+ has earned its place in the social sphere and is a distinguished platform in its own right. And you can be sure that Google will continue to roll out seamless integrations and features that will attract certain user groups like magnets—just like the Google Authorship feature did with bloggers.