Google+ is like a rich friend (although cool & hip, not a dork) that has sort of forced himself into the friendship. Upfront, he was annoying because of the whole gmail integration. He (“he” referring to the personified Google+) was so excited about the friendship so he made it so any and every user could be contacted through their gmail accounts. Privacy issues? I think so. Although its important to note that there is an opt-out feature to not receive any emails. Then there is the whole YouTube comments thing. He wanted to make a change to the friendship and did so with much criticism. Google+ made it so every YouTube user who wanted to comment needed a Google+ account to do so. Control freak? Maybe, or did he just make a genuine mistake. Google+ and the YouTube comments is an attempt to integrate products and clean up spam and explicit commenting. Seems like good intent. Finally, our Google+ friend may be a little bit narcissistic. Forbes staff, Kashmir Hill, shared her thoughts on what she calls Google+’s brand new “narcissism statistics.” On Google+ users can see the number of profile views along with the view count per individual picture. Hill summarized it well:
“No longer do you have to wait for pluses (or likes or hearts) to know if your digital detritus is being consumed by other souls on the Internet. Google has quantified it for you. The number you’ll see on yours and others’ profiles “is the composite number of how many times others have viewed your profile, photos and posts, based off of information since October of 2012,” says a Google spokesperson. So now the big question is whether Google feeding our navel-gazing data addiction will actually make the network more popular with users” – Hill
All-in-all Google+’s nearly three year life has not been all glamorous. Although the “Ghost-town” nickname is still attached, there is hope that our friend Google+ is still coming of age.
Enough of the annoying traits. After nearly three years of the friendship, Google+ actually does offer some powerful tools. Foremost, Google+ is a great platform for SEO and content marketing. We can talk all day about benefits of SEO and content marketing and how they may be Google+’s biggest traits. We can also talk about optimizing your profile as well, with Stephan Hovnanian, but there may be something else. Lindsey Paholski’s article, Google+: Social Network vs. Social Layer, shares insights on how Google+ is potentially “coming of age” with more developed layers. This “social” layer is important aside from the social network side of Google+. The social layer “brings social and identity benefits to the entire Google Web ecosystem. That social layer can enhance the quality of conversation, unlike Twitter’s loudspeaker that allows for just surface listening.” Paholski talks about the importance of a relevant relationship. This relevant relationship is the connecting/sharing of people with your brand/product. In this realm, Google+ is nearing its coming of age with a more connected social layer than Twitter and Facebook.
Facebook offer both social and identity benefits—it’s about connecting with friends and family that we know in real life. But where Facebook’s ecosystem is closed and small, Google’s is vast and relatively open, which allows it to use like YouTube comments to essentially upgraded its services with identity markers. Rather than upgrade YouTube with a separate identity level Google applied its universal identity layer, Google+ – Paholski
Paholski continues on to share why Google+ is potentially on the right track to coming of age. Tools like Google+ Hangout is what strengthens the brand with a more in depth social connection and relationship with people. Google+ is shrugging off their rich friend tags and shouldering young, innovative, but respectful new ones.
Like any brand/product, Google+ will take time to build an authority and a following. Google+ is still writing it’s coming of age tale.