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22squared POV: Google+


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Google+: What it is and what it means

Published in: Technology, Business

22squared POV: Google+

  1. 1. Our Model: Advocacy Is Everything GOOGLE+ WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT MEANS©2011 22squared
  2. 2. +Circles +Hangouts +Stream +Photos +Profile +Sparks WHAT IT IS A social network that allows you to share thoughts and content with those you care about the most. WHY IT’S DIFFERENT Embedded within the core of Google+ is the notion that people have different circles of friends and interact and share differently with different groups.©2011 22squared
  3. 3. A CHANCE TO START OVER Google+ gives people a chance to restart their social graphs and organize their online connections into more accurate depictions of real-life classifications.Image Source: Paul Adams. ©2011 22squared
  4. 4. +Circles CLASSIFY YOUR SOCIAL GRAPH Circles serve as the central construct of Google+. Circles allows you to organize your connections into various groups by simply dragging and dropping users into individual Circles. Google also serves up suggestions on the right side of the home page that encourage you to categorize your contacts into Circles.©2011 22squared
  5. 5. +Circles CLASSIFICATION IS FOR YOUR EYES ONLY People can be allowed to see which people appear in your Circles, but only you can see the names and composition of your Circles. There are several different visibility settings that can be adjusted in the privacy settings. For instance, you can choose to limit the display of who’s in your Circles to those you’ve already added to your Circles. You can also choose to display only pictures of people in a certain group.©2011 22squared
  6. 6. +Hangouts LIVE VIDEO SESSIONS WITH YOUR CIRCLES Using live video, Hangouts lets you do exactly what the name implies, hang out. Hangouts can be public or limited to select Circles, and when you begin one, a post is published to the Streams of your selected audience that lets them know you’re hanging out. NOT IDEAL FOR PROFESSIONAL USE Hangouts appear to be intended primarily for use in a social context, as opposed to a professional setting. You may want to think twice before trying to hold business- related video Hangouts, as you’ll find that the control features you’re used to are missing. Hangouts are created by one person, but anyone in the Hangout has the ability to invite other people. People can’t be kicked out of a Hangout, so the only way to deal with an uncomfortable situation is to leave.©2011 22squared
  7. 7. +Hangouts WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS TOGETHER One interesting feature of Hangouts is the ability to watch YouTube videos together as a group. Clicking the YouTube button brings up a search box. Once a video is selected, all users are muted by default, to address echo issues, and anyone in the Hangout can control video play-by-playing, pausing, or changing the video.©2011 22squared
  8. 8. +Sparks DISCOVER INTERESTING CONTENT One of the more underrated aspects of Google+, Sparks functions as a recommendation engine around interests you enter. Sparks functions less as a search service and more like a blend of Google News and Google Blogs. Whereas with Google Search you typically start with the intent of finding something specific, Sparks serves to help users discover new content around topics they’re interested in.©2011 22squared
  9. 9. +Stream SEGMENTED VERSIONS OF A SOCIAL STAPLE Anyone can share posts with you, but the Stream only displays posts from people you’ve added to your Circles. However, you can choose to view posts from people who aren’t in your Circles by clicking Incoming. You can also view filtered versions of the Stream according to the different Circles you’ve created. You can +1 (think Facebook’s Like button), comment, or share any item displayed in the Stream.©2011 22squared
  10. 10. +Stream SELECTIVE SHARING IS THE DEFAULT Sharing on Google+ is established on the premise that you don’t always want to share everything with your entire social graph. In fact, selective sharing is inherently embedded into the sharing process on Google+; choosing the Circle(s) you want to broadcast your message to is a required step anytime you share, although for convenience, new posts default to the last set of people you shared a post with. Indeed, Circles are an effective way to help you share different things with different people, but it remains to be seen if this segmentation will lower friction and encourage more sharing.©2011 22squared
  11. 11. +Stream A POST TO A LIMITED AUDIENCE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE PUBLIC Just because you posted something to a particular Circle doesn’t mean it can’t be made public. For instance, if you post something to your Family Circle and one of your family members chooses to share it with the public, that post you originally meant to share only with your family has been made public. The only way to keep a post to limited audiences truly limited is to shut off sharing for that post altogether.©2011 22squared
  12. 12. +Photos UNLIMITED CAPACITY, INSTANT UPLOADS, AND PHOTO EDITING The Photos feature in Google+ is relatively intuitive. Users can upload as many photos as they want from virtually anywhere they want, whether it’s from their desktop or mobile device. Additionally, those who use Android devices (2.1 or greater) or the iPhone are able to upload via Instant Upload with the Google+ app. A differentiator for Google+ Photos is the ability to edit photos. As with other aspects of the platform, selective sharing—the ability to share photos with select Circles—remains a key concept within Photos as well.©2011 22squared
  13. 13. +Marketing Implications THE SOCIAL LAYER TO RULE THEM ALL Google has a robust line of products and services that many people use on a daily basis. With these products and services, Google is able to mine massive amounts of data that provide valuable information to power their advertising platforms. In particular, Google Search provides powerful insights into the needs and desires of users as consumers. However, absent throughout this powerful range of Google products has been the ability for social collaboration and sharing across various apps and platforms. With Google+ as the backbone, Google can build outbound and inbound pipelines for sharing across its existing products and services. More importantly, it drives longer and more frequent logged-in sessions for Google properties, which gives Google the potential to usurp Facebook to once again become the most popular online destination.©2011 22squared
  14. 14. +Marketing Implications A SOCIAL RANKING FACTOR IN SEARCH Google+ utilizes the +1 button for the same function as the Like button on Facebook: a way for users to express validation for a piece of shared content. Google also took Facebook’s lead in releasing their +1 button to web developers and publishers as a social plug-in for web content. Bing has been incorporating Facebook Likes in search results for quite some time, and it now looks as though Google will follow suit to tout their own socially relevant search results.©2011 22squared
  15. 15. +Marketing Implications “We will record information about your activity - such as posts you comment on and the other users with whom you interact - in order to provide you and other users with a better experience on Google services.” — Google+ Privacy Policy MORE ACCURATE USER PROFILING AND PRIVACY CONCERNS Google’s success is directly tied to its ability to index user activity. As online user activity has progressively shifted to social networks—where discovery, as opposed to search, occurs—Google’s inability to index the activity within the walled gardens of Facebook has posed a serious threat to building robust user profiles. With Google+ acting as the social layer across all of its products and services, and as more users turn to it as a go-to social network for sharing and discovering content, Google will gain access to a social layer of user data to help draw a more comprehensive picture of users. Google has traditionally helped brand marketers target users based on needs and intentions, but they’ve fallen behind social networks like Facebook in targeting based on interests and identities. With Google+, the search giant looks to provide brands with the ability to provide targeted advertising to users based on needs, identities, interests, and network attributes that compose user profiles. The granular, segmented data that Google will provide may allow for much more accurate targeting, but it is also sure to bring up privacy concerns among users.©2011 22squared
  16. 16. +Marketing Implications SOLOMO WITH MOBILE GOOGLE+ With Google+ as the foundation, Google aims to truly create a convergence point for SoLoMo (social, local, and mobile). Google has put a good bit of thought into catering its mobile version of Google+ to stay true to the inherent tenets of the mobile experience. For instance, Huddle is a feature unique to the mobile Google+ experience that allows users to group-message each other. The mobile version also provides check-in functionality (tapping into existing Google Places data), and may also suggest offers and deals by way of Google Latitude.©2011 22squared
  17. 17. +Marketing Implications SOLUTIONS FOR BRANDS? Google has stated that Google+ is currently only for building user profiles. As such, many brands looking to have an early presence on the site have been forcibly shut down. However, Google is testing business solutions with a beta group of brands, including Ford, MTV, Mashable, and Dell, and monitoring this group may prove helpful in forecasting the solutions and features Google+ will ultimately offer for brands. In the meantime, there are two features brands may be able to anticipate: 1. SEGMENTATION WITH CIRCLES Just as a user can (somewhat) easily classify contacts into different Circles, brands will be able to classify their fans into Circles. This provides the opportunity to easily publish segmented messages to different audiences. 2. SPONSORED ADS AND CONTENT WITHIN SPARKS Sparks are interest-based channels with curated content. As user behavior on the Internet continually shifts toward a discovery-based model, Sparks will present an opportunity for brands to sponsor relevant content or target ads based on certain interests. Another interesting possibility to consider: dedicated branded Sparks.©2011 22squared
  18. 18. +Final Thoughts GOOGLE+ VS FACEBOOK So how does Google+ stack up against Facebook? In terms of functionality, besides a few unique features such as Circles and Hangouts, much of it is what people would expect based on their experiences on Facebook. This only seems natural, as the Facebook experience is what over 750 million users have become accustomed to over the years. Although Google+ has experienced a meteoric rise to over 20 million users in a timeframe that barely spans a month, the true test will be whether it can maintain an increase in active users (a challenging task, as Twitter knows all too well). GOOGLE HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN It’s unclear where Google+ will be five years from now, but it’s safe to say that after a number of half-baked failures—Orkut, Buzz, Wave—this is simply the beginning of Google’s movements. With Google’s infrastructure of existing products and services, Google+ may prove to be a compelling web-wide social experience, so much so that it could siphon off time spent on other social sites like Facebook and Twitter. If it truly hopes to become a game-changer, however, Google+ will need to place users first by closely monitoring initial feedback.©2011 22squared