There was a time when Google and Facebook lived like good, peace-loving creatures of the World Wide Web. The Search Engine Giant and the Social Networking Guru had little common worries, and were too thrilled by their own flights uphill to notice MySpace, Orkut and the likes crumble and fall. Until turning of the year, 2011.
As Google sat on its empire with pride, looking back at the assortment of products and services that had taken precedence over all the similar services ever launched, Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google, thought to himself: ‘…missing out on social networking (and letting Facebook take it) was my biggest mistake’.
Google recently launched a beta version of its riposte to Facebook: a product called Google +. Looks like, Google wants more and has pockets deep enough to tread upon a mission this huge, for Facebook is Facebook, after all.
Beginnings seem humble with an intention to engage users on reference basis, so that a structured fraternity becomes part of its earliest settlement. G+ is trying to involve its earliest settlers, deeply, into the process of evolution while also giving them a feel of exclusivity as they do so. Whether, valuing user judgment and honoring their input on this scale, would prove pivotal at winning hearts and loyalties, remains to be seen.
Understandably enough, it’s a battle uphill for Google, and they are not deluded a zilch over the fact. There have been initiatives in the past, on part of Google, to acquire, collaborate and compete with Facebook but in vain. It is only G+ that calls for a declared offensive in shape of an elaborate product, designed to offer something similar, yet a little more, than what Facebook is offering.
There are 5 notable things Google + is capable of giving Facebook a hard-time at. Interestingly, these also happen to directly influence your business. If you care about what your customers are saying and where they are saying it, you need to read this post.
For a starter: do not underestimate Google.
Google is listening, checking the waters and taking its sweet time to uncoil its full potential. Perhaps, hitting people with something powerful was not ‘pre-conceived’ as a great idea at Google. So they decided on taking the baby steps with G+, despite a fortune of hereditary assets, capable of changing the game overnight.
Google + directly linked to the most widely used search engine on planet with alarmingly vast search engine optimization (SEO) implications
Whether you like it or not, G+ is born to a wealth of possibilities when it comes to businesses. Its link to Google search engine cannot be underestimated at any point. And not to mention, G+ is wealthy enough to sustain itself through the initial flurries. Although, as of now, Google is asking businesses to hold off until the release of business pages later this year, suffice is to say that net novelty is a dangerous asset. It can do inexplicable things to online entities, sometimes overnight. Talk of having non-human users is already underway at G+. See the discussion between Danny Sullivan and Bradely Horowitz for more on brands on Google plus.
G+ is like Facebook but a little different
At Facebook, privacy issues have always been a drawl. Users have forever complained about the privacy settings being too confusing. G+ takes a lead here and offers a better privacy management system. Especially relevant to corporate usage as it allows you to create as many exclusive contact groups (they call these Circles there) and then select them as you create your content. Details of the key features have already been talked about in our previous blog-posts which would be a useful read for those new to Google plus.
The +1 button at Google plus is more than just a ‘like button’
The +1 button will probably directly impact SEO but it is not clear exactly how, at this point. If you have used Google search engine lately, you must have noticed a little “+1” button showing up in the search results. Clicking on it would let Google know that you have supported the link as a ‘solid source of information’ against your search terms. This means, the more +1 clicks a site receives, the higher Google would place it for a particular set of keywords. Google denies that about +1’s implementation but does not reject the possibility of it affecting search rankings in the future. With Google plus also using the +1 button to endorse a post by a contact, it makes the whole vision for the +1 button even bigger.
Google envisions +1 button as a means to knit up all user-endorsed content across the internet. Through clicking +1 on a search result or a photograph of your friend’s pet that they uploaded on G+, you are contributing directly into your personal version of Google’s search algorithm, meaning thereby, that content will be, eventually served to you, based on your +1 behavior.
This technique is a bit bold and may present problems for SEO management, if it actually creates personalized results for every user. It is a matter hot and heavy in the SEO circles and we await more information from Google on this issue.
Prospects of Business Profiles at Google Plus
While Google says that there won’t be special business profiles until later this year, it is not a bad idea to create one for your firm and get ahead of the competition. The new business only profiles would perhaps be more analytics oriented with features that would allow one to monitor user demographics, etc. However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t experiment with G+. At the most, you may have to recreate your profile again this fall, it would only be beneficial to try out the new platform and get comfortable with where your consumers may probably be talking about your services.
Google puts its full weight behind G+
It is popularly held that pretty soon Picasa and Blogger will cease to exist and you’ll be using Google + for blogging and uploading photographs. It is only logical to expect more Google services dying slowly only to be reincarnated as part of G+. New services, games, plugins and customizations are likely to pop up too. SEO is going to be influenced by this in a big, big way as instead of being an assimilator and a channel to finding content about your company, G+ will become both the platform as well as means of distribution for content. Google certainly hoards big plans for G+, this much is evident. Bottom line is, any company that cares what its users are saying and where they are saying it must get familiar with G+.
With Facebook firmly holding on to the fortresses of social networking, Google’s new product will have to meet with high-pitched skepticism, tipped with Facebook-loyalty and an online populace seasoned with good social networking experience – capable of initiating threads upon threads of (sometimes constructive, but mostly caustic) criticism that can be a bit to harsh on Google +, still in its infancy. But then again, it is a hard world baby!