GooglePlusAndroid

Is This The Future?

Google+ (Google Plus) could be huge. I know, because I’ve seen it, and it’s convinced me.

I’ve seen social networks come and go. I spent my A-Levels talking to friends on Faceparty (before it was a swinging website), my degree faffing on MySpace (the gifs!) and my first job surreptitiously updating my Facebook  status (Andy is working).

I’ve Tweeted, Waved, Buzzed and Meme’d.

So I’ve seen what makes a successful social networking site, and what makes an abject failure.

And I think Google+ definitely has the makings of the next big thing.

Three Reasons That Google Plus Will Be The Next Big Thing

Reason One: It’s Going to Attract Influencers

LisaBarone on Google+

Well, she influences me...

The problem with social networks like Yahoo Meme is that if a site can’t attract the sort of users that influence opinion, it’s not going to be relevant.

Google Plus isn’t going to have that problem.

When the “closed testing” opened, thousands of people descended on the site and started to make use of their invites – until Google slammed the door shut – and they used them to invite people they followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Anyone who influences opinion on those sites would’ve found themselves bombarded by invitations. And when you get repeated invites, you start to take notice.

The movers and shakers are taking notice of Google+. And where they go, the masses follow.

Reason Two: It’s Going to Influence the Algorithm

For years, Google’s made noises that social factors are going to influence search results more and more. ReTweets and Facebook Likes are already beginning to translate into higher rankings, but it’s Google Plus – specifically the integration with Google +1 that’s going to bring search and social together.

Yes, I’ve changed my tune since calling +1 an uninvited guest, but with the unveiling of Google+, it suddenly makes sense.

Plus One is now integral to Google Plus’ user feeds. Instead of a chore, clicking +1 is now as natural as clicking Like or ReTweeting. And it’s plumbed directly into Google Search’s mains.

Instead of decoding another company’s social signals, Google now needs only to look inwards to see how social popularity should affect search – and that’s going to mean that business owners and marketers are going to be hot on the heels of the influencers when it comes to signing up.

Reason Three: It’s a Genuine Alternative to Facebook

Google Plus is well designed, intuitive and offers a number of features that make it stand out as a genuine contender to Facebook’s crown. The most prominent of these is the “Circles” function.

If you Tweet or post on Facebook, you know that it’s not just your friends that can read. It’s colleagues, clients, employers and family members. So you need to guard your tongue because everything’s being aired in public. By categorising the people in your network and showing only what you want those people to see, Google+ takes away that fear of jamming your foot into your mouth. So is it any wonder that early adopters are waxing lyrical?

Adam Ramsden on Google Plus

Google+ - Not just for "Tech Heads"

But SEO geeks, marketing enthusiasts and social media aren’t enough to make a new network a success. For that you’ll need average users.

Google Inc has access to huge amounts of average users. And by incorporating products such as Picasa that people use already, Google is going to ensnare those users. Especially if Google Plus is being pushed through Google’s huge advertising networks and media presence.

Reason Four: Google Won’t Let It Fail

Google Plus is going to be pushed. No doubt about it.

Google gets a billion hits a month. Gmail and other Google products have hundreds of thousands of users. “Google” was a commonly used verb when Mark Zuckerberg was playing around with TheFacebook.com and Tweeting was just for the birds. The minds behind the world’s leading search engine know what it takes to succeed online.

And everything the company has tested in recent years – from Wave to Plus One, via personalised search and Google Talk has been leading towards this. Google+ is the culmination of a company-wide effort to break into the social market, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to be pushed. Hard.

So when you have a genuinely well designed site that’s attracting all manner of users, it’s a guaranteed hit, right?

Wrong. There’s still something nagging at the back of my mind, telling me to hedge my bets…

And One Reason Why It’s Going to Crash and Burn

Facebook.

Facebook. It looks ominous as a one word subheading with a very definite full stop. And it should.

The reason Google is untouchable in the search market is the fact that it’s ingrained in the social consciousness. You don’t search, you “Google”.

You don’t use social networks. You use Facebook.

And it’s not just you. Half of the population of the UK is on Facebook. My gran is on Facebook.

Even with the weight of Google Inc. behind it, Plus has a mountain to climb to gain a market share. And once it’s climbed the mountain, it’s going to find Zuckerberg’s angry giant waiting at the top.

That’s going to be one hell of a battle.

So, what do you think? Have you tried Plus One? Does it live up to the hype, or are you heading back to pastures blue? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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