Archive for October, 2011

postheadericon The New Google Social Media: “Plus” or Minus

Well, it’s official.  Google has finally rolled out their new social media platform, Google Plus.  In a blatant attempt at coveting the mass market appeal that Facebook has been garnering since its inception 7 years ago, we now see Google trying to get into the social media game.  The platform, while still in its infancy, was started with nothing less than a full throttle exposure by Google, utilizing every aspect of its web presence to reinforce the potential uses and powers of the new social media outlet.  The three most powerful features, or perhaps most important when it comes to search engine optimization and web marketing, are the social media pages, the “+1” button, and the search engine integration.

Social Media Page

From a glance, Google Plus has all the basic features you would expect with social media these days.  There is a place for basic information, your profile, photos of you, contact information, and a space to say how you are doing (the basic equivalent of Facebook status or a Twitter tweet).  There is one minor difference in that when you are messaged, you are actually emailed (using your gmail account, of course), instead of the message being stored somewhere else.  In addition, you are able to easily search for people to add t your circle of friends based on pasty emails or using Google’s own search engine.  The biggest difference is the addition of the Google Plus Circles, which is how Google organizes your friends and family.  Facebook has similar organizational groups, but Google actually forces you to put all of your friends in a specific circle (even if it is called “Friends”) which would differentiate them from your family, coworkers, etc.  This could be very useful for when you want to share something that perhaps you don’t want your family or your boss to see, but other than that it doesn’t really add much that I can see yet.

+1

I mentioned in a previous post about the new +1 buttons that we are adding to all of our SEO clients pages.  The Google equivalent of a “Like” button, these buttons which are coded into the page help to both track who and how many people like a particular website, but also helps to bring inbound links into the page which increases the rankings of the site in search engines.  The biggest difference that I see between the way that Facebook did this and the way that Google is doing this is where the inbound links are going to be found.  For Facebook, this is was in a post made on the wall of the person that clicked the “like” button.  Whereas in Google, this is actually a separate tab, next to photos and basic info, that lists all the pages that particular person has +1’d.  The pages are listed in reverse chronological order so the first thing you see will be the person’s latest interest.

Search Engine Integration

Google’s new platform already proves that it has a significant amount of power behind it.  However, the real power behind the new social media platform is the integration with everything else that Google is already offering.  Google’s approach to business seems to be, if we can do 1 thing extremely well, we can probably do everything extremely well.  Oddly enough, they seem to be right for the most part.  From their original search engine to their power email solution, an internet browser, a smartphone operating system, and now its social media platform, there seems to be no end to what Google will do.  What makes it better is that everything is integrated.  On Google’s website now, you will see the +You button (which changes “You” to your first name when you are logged in) next to the web search bar.  From within the platform, you can use gmail to send messages, Picassa to share photos, and the search engine to find friends, and this is the tip of the iceberg for what I am sure Google will do.  This would make the new platform a very powerful tool in the internet marketing world, where social media has become the way businesses build reputation and create buzz about the company.  At the moment, it seems more geared towards individuals, but it is only a matter of time before Google branches out to businesses like Facebook has done.

What do you think?

We want to know you’re opinion about the changing social media environment and how Google Plus compares to Facebook.  Keeping in mind that it is still in beta and has not been finished yet (as if Facebook is ever actually finished either), what do our readers think?  Gives us a rating, 1-5, so we can find out how many people are using it and how they like it so far?