July 13, 2011 9:45 AM
July 13, 2011 9:45 AM
Google+ - Bridging the Gap between Facebook & Twitter?
July 13, 2011 9:45 AMGoogle have not yet begun to make a huge noise about Google+. This is probably for two reasons;
A) They seem to be ironing out a few kinks.
B) Why bother putting time and effort into marketing when the marketing community is putting so much time and effort into doing the job for them? I speak of the relentless commentary and speculation that has been pushed out by the marketing community since, the idea was first mentioned.
Until recently, Google has kept the user-base relatively small, not wanting to launch to the masses until they were sure that the product was ready, but it seems that more and more invitations are now being actioned and the community seems to be growing apace.
Now most commentary has spoken of Google+ as a direct challenge to Facebook and Google's attempt to become a major player in the social media turf war, but I think this view is somewhat short-sighted and seriously underestimates Google's ambitions and the effect that this platform could have, not just on Facebook, but the entire social media landscape.
Having had an opportunity to play with Google+ for a couple of days, its potential (in my mind) is truly staggering. Some critics have voiced their discontent at the seemingly basic interface and its limited nature. Those critics are the people that thought Google+ was Facebook 2.0.
At this point, you have a profile, a photo gallery and a streams of friends' shares & status updates... all very Facebook-esque, but then there are your 'circles'. Circles are categories that you can place your contacts into, to segment them into audiences. Thus far, the promotion of 'circles' has been around segmenting your contacts into friends, close friends, colleagues, acquaintances and all other manner of social circles. What seems to have been overlooked is the major play that 'circles' could make into Twitter's market share.
There has long been a clear distinction between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is a private platform where you share with those that you choose. Twitter is a much more public platform where you share with people that choose you. It looks to me as though Google+ bridges the gap between these platforms with beautiful effectiveness. Through the use of 'circles' you can easily assemble a mass audience and segment them into the people you share your life with, the people you share your brand with and the people you share your insight, opinions and knowledge with.
Facebook have had something slightly similar to 'circles' for a long time, in the form of friend 'lists' but the production and administration of these 'lists' has been clunky and awkward and in fact, there has been very little in the way of promotion and guidance in relation to them. This is where 'circles' differ.
Google have focused their platform around 'circles' and in doing so, have set themselves apart from the competition. 'Circles' are very simple to create & manage, and when sharing statuses or media it requires minimal effort to share publicly or to choose specific audiences in the form of 'circles'.
For example, I work as a search marketing consultant, I have my usual Facebook style 'circles' for friends and family etc. but then I have circles for PPC, SEO and Social Media and in these sections I plan to segment the contacts that I discuss my industry with. This way, if I want to share a link about the latest link building strategies, or a cool viral campaign, I don't have to bore my totally uninterested friends with it; I can simply select the circles that will have an interest. On the other side, I may not want to share my weekend's frivolities with industry peers, so I simply select the most relevant 'circle' in which to discuss the new cocktail we invented at 4am on Friday night.
In my opinion Facebook & Twitter have every reason to be concerned as Google appears to have come up with a platform that can offer the best of both worlds in one simple, easy platform.
Of course, only time will tell with Google+, there's every possibility that the mass market will reject the platform if they remain ill informed and refuse to join, thinking that the "new Facebook" called Google+ is not as good as the "original Facebook."