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As Google+ Floods the Internet, Other Updates May Be Missed

The social world has been on fire since June 28th. Google Plus posts, tweets and chats are pouring steadily into the social sphere at a steady pace, and show no signs of slowing down.

The social world has been on fire since June 28th. Google Plus posts, tweets and chats are pouring steadily into the social sphere at a steady pace, and show no signs of slowing down. You simply can’t keep up with all of them (we’ve tried).

Many of these posts are somewhat regurgitated content. They’re about how the particular author is using G+ (what the cool kids are calling Google Plus), what they’ve found, why they love it (or hate it), and so on. A few, on the other hand, are quite simply works of art.

Google + Review and Privacy Issues

AJ Kohn (creator of Blind Five Year Old, SEOmoz Search Ranking Panelist and so on), for example, wrote a lengthy Google+ Review. Rather than expound on how he’s using the world’s newest social platform, he pinpoints a few issues in the seemingly most enjoyed part – Circles. AJ writes:

I’m not sure Circles works in practice, or at least not the way many though they would. The flexibility of Circles could be its achilles heel. I have watched people create a massive ordered list of Circles for every discrete set of people. Conversely, I’ve seen others just lump everyone into a big Circle. Those in the latter seem unsettled, thinking that they’re doing something wrong by not creating more Circles.

One thing that really stuck with us at Level343 is his thoughts on Circles privacy. G+ has gone to a great deal of trouble to give you privacy at an insane level of control. Share with a single person or many, a specific circle or entirely public, and so on. Yet, your privacy only goes so far as the person you share with. If they find it humorous, thought provoking and so on, they are quite capable of sharing it with others. Privacy gone.

As well, as AJ shows, the handy dandy sharing model gives away some things about you that you may not have planned. In a test, he manages to hunt down over 1,000 Googlers that may, or may not, have been under the radar as a Google employee. This kind of information is quickly available just by “skimming” the content of others’ circles. Again, the idea of veil of privacy seems a little thinner than first perceived.

What’s Google’s Real Goal with G+?

Then you have the question that’s been pandered about, “Is Google Plus a Facebook killer?” Amongst the yeas and nays being posted, Marshall Kirkpatrick (Technology Journalist and lead writer for ReadWriteWeb), mentions another possibility on his personal blog.Marshall writes:

Listening tonight to an interview with Plus designer Joseph Smarr on the IEEE Podcast, it became clear to me that for at least some of Plus’s leadership the goal is not to win social networking outright, or to kill any competitors, but to disrupt the social networking economy with a big enough, good enough and popular enough service that the walled gardens (Facebook in particular) are forced to open up interoperability enough that their users can communicate with the significant enough number of people in their lives that use a different social network.”

Not all the commentors agree, of course. Some argue that Google’s goals are based more on improved PageRank and AdWords click-ability. The comments themselves are a good read, along with the post. What’s Google’s real aim? Only Google knows; however, for anyone paying attention, it’s obvious Google isn’t just creating a new social platform.

From Google’s Mouth to Your Ears published “Inside Google + – How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social” less than five hours after the announcement on the Official Google Blog. In this long, in depth article, the corporation’s code name for Google+, or “Emerald Sea”, is released – one of the smallest details in an fantastic piece of written art.

Writer Steven Levey says the search giant higher-ups have put Google + on the permanent map. Even if it fails, it’s not going anywhere but back to the drawing board:

No one expects an instant success. But even if this week’s launch evokes snark or yawns, Google will keep at it. Google+ is not a product like Buzz or Wave where the company’s leaders can chalk off a failure to laudable ambition and then move on. ‘We’re in this for the long run,’ says Ben-Yair. ‘This isn’t like an experiment. We’re betting on this, so if obstacles arise, we’ll adapt.’”

This was a great article and well worth reading for those interested in the minds behind Google’s latest venture into social. Again, there’s some definite thought-provoking gold in the comments as well as the post.

What Might Have Been Missed

With all the “news that is news” about G+ flooding the Net, however, a few other changes and details seem to have slipped by a large majority. For example:

  • Social Search AKA RealTime Search, has gone AWOL from the SERPS
  • Sadly, so has the Wonder Wheel
  • Things have been added to the search interface as well, such as a filter for “reading level” and “sites with images” (completely different, by the way, than a Google Image search)
  • And did anyone notice the little mic up in the search bar that let’s you search by voice?
  • Not to mention the several completely updated Android apps, such as the Google Maps 5.7 update (including the Google + app)
  • Or the “Recipes” search option

In short, if you want to keep up with Google and you have the head for it, it might be advisable to search through the 40,000 + patents available that relate to search engines. If that’s too much for you, SEO By the Sea breaks some of them down into slightly less technical bits of information.

Are We Jumping the Gun a Little?

Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, as soon as Google+ came out, people (read SEOs and marketers) started “testing” to see what impact G+ might have on the SERPs. Others immediately began speculating on how G+ could be used for business purposes. Still others wondered how it tied in with +1… and so on.

Okay, so maybe trying to figure out how to apply a new social platform to business is just, well, business. –And yet, does it makes sense when that platform (even if it IS Google’s platform) is still in testing?

Feedback is still pouring in, to the extent that Google posted a “known issues” page. They’re obviously still fine-tuning, especially in areas such asSparks and Gmail/G+ integration. In short, it’s still a work in progress, and any “test” will most likely end up with the conclusion of “we need to do more tests”.

Quite simply, we have no idea what the final pièce de résistance will be. While you’re planning how to use “Hangouts” for business purposes, they could very well be changing it to the point that your plan is useless (just as an example, people). Give it some time – learn how to use it, or how your target market will use it, before spending oodles of time planning!


The times they are a changing. The old Google is, quite simply, gone – for two reasons. One, they seem to have a fresh new perspective on how to finally reach out to their market (everybody). Two, and most importantly, they’ve become active listeners. They ask questions about a specific area of G+ (for example) and then listen to the answers.

Is it a kindler, gentler Google? Naw – it’s still gigantic monolith of a corporation with an eye on the bottom line and a finger in every honey pot. However, it appears that the company is, at the very least, a smarter, wiser Google. Kisses, and hugs from Europe…

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11 Responses

  1. If Google were to take over Facebook, it would be no surprise to me. Google has become the main player for all things Internet. They took over Blogspot, Youtube and it will not be surprising if they bought out to completely take over Facebook.

    Google is ruthless to say the least. No competetion is the Google way, right? Another thing that bothers me the most about Google is that they record every, single search you do. They are not discarded after you make your search. This means they know what you are looking for, what that search is for and the next time you do a Google search, they bring up ‘relevant’ ads to entice you. This is just wrong and an invation of privacy.

  2. Ciao Gabriella,
    anch’ io rispondo qui, in maniera decisamente più stringata … mi trovo sempre d’accordo con le affermazioni di Alessandro, che sa predire il futuro, meglio di me … detto ciò, sono tutti, per me, strumenti “diversi” con un target diversi e scopi … uguali.
    La relazione,l’engagement e la “conquista” di clienti sono al centro di tutto … personalmente sono felice di questa “sana” c0mpetizione .. certo, c’é da studiare molto, ma molto di più!! 🙂

  3. Ciao Gabriella,

    commento qui perchè lo trovo più giusto che regalare contenuti ai social network e come sai, i contenuti sono il MUST di internet e tanti ancora non lo hanno capito.

    Questa guerra io non la vedo, comprendo e capisco tutte le osservazioni, le indicazioni che tu hai dato nel tuo post tuttavia, credo che se di rete parliamo, di privacy non si possa proprio parlare; se c’è qualche cosa di dannoso a livello di software, tanto peggio sono quegli applicativi di geolocalizzazione come Foursquare o GoWalla, Latitude per rimanere in ambito Google.

    Detto questo, è fuori discussione che siamo dei markter, bisogna guardare la sostanza delle cose e delle piattaforme che i tempi, le tecnologie, la popolarità offrono a persone come noi. Se c’è un nuovo social… peggio per noi, ci dovremo lavorare, se ne chiude un’altro… meno lavoro e più operatività e in questo credo che tutti siano d’accordo.

    Ricordo la nascita di Facebook come la nascita di Twitter, ho vissuto quella di Google Plus e c’è poco da dire, il giro di anime che si sono riversate in questa nuova era della rete, del search e del social, non è che all’alba, le prime luci anche se 20 milioni di utenti, hanno già aperto un account Google plus e con lui, tutti i servizi che Google offre; Facebook, Twitter e tutto il resto, no ha lo stesso potenziale e il pericolo, a mio avviso, è solo quello di identificare Google come “la rete”.

    Obbiettivi verso questa strategia, si era già visto qualche cosa nel 2008, il tentativo di “tenere” all’interno degli account (bacino d’utenza) i visitatori, è stata in pratica vinta da Facebook fino a qualche giorno fa, ora… tutto cambia e quello che è sempre mancato a un social network nato per “tenere rapporti con chi si conosce” adesso è lui che ha inventato un nuovo social network: il “search social” in circle.

    La suddivisione in circoli è comoda, mi permette di non rompere le scatole a tutto il mio network e di mirare, il più possibile, i miei contenuti ai potenziali interessati. Tutto sommato, non è una cattiva idea ed è di certo, meno invasiva di FB che nello stream, ci costringe a leggere tutto quello viene postato da tutti nel nostro network.

    Vantaggi? Facebook è confinato ai limiti del suo regno, finché sei li dentro, hai qualche possibilità ma appena fuori, sei finito, il nulla e tu sai benissimo che i contenuti invece… fanno la differenza (vedi twitter).

    In twitter… si nasce soli, da un ovetto virtuale, si muovono i primi passi e ci si “presenta” al mondo virtuale, si scrive e si costruisce la propria rete sociale; in FB si cercano gli amici, i parenti e lo hanno trasformato in qualche altra cosa… Google ha sfruttato questa “noia” di contenuti non interessanti sapendo già che le persone si conoscono, hanno già esperienza di social e gli ha dato una piattaforma simile a quella che ha utilizzato fino a qualche giorno fa, Facebook con delle novità. Impressionante è vedere i risultati però che porta un social come G+; io mi sono soffermato su quello e “postare” articoli miei vecchi, è stata la cartina tornasole per vedere la reazione; lo stesso l’ho fatto in FB, quasi simultaneamente… il ritorno è 10 visite da G+ a 1 o massimo 2 da FB.

    In uno scenario del genere, si dovrà solo attendere come gli utenti si distribuiranno all’interno dei social e a noi, il compito di capire qualche strategia, quale social, è più adatto a un nostro brand, cliente ecc…

    Microsoft resterà a guardare? Non credo, aspettiamoci ancora un nuovo social e arriveremo alla noia totale come il Grande Fratello… Google inghiottirà tutto? Probabile ma a questo punto, non resta che aspettare per evitare di scrivere delle cavolate, è ancora troppo presto per fare dei bilanci, c’è il fattore novità che non è poco, sediamoci a un tavolo tra 6-8 mesi, a quel punto, ci saranno abbastanza dati per capire di cosa stiamo parlando!


    1. Mio caro Alex I always look forward to your long winded posts questo è quello che amo di te. Mentre conosci il mio “M.O.” e sempre di sederme sul “fence”. Non sono ancora convinta di Google + o che sia/è una cosa che devo abbracciare. Devo vedere tutto ciò, speciale. Certo addess tutto loro applicazioni è sotto un unico ombrello. Hanno costruito queste applicazioni per anni, ora sono tutti in un unico posto. Super è fantastico, ma io non sono un utente di Google.

      L’ultima cosa che vorrei essere è una proprietà di qualsiasi entità online. Google può, e ha rimosso le persone senza un buon motivo. Dai un’occhiata a questo – Sono sicura che ci sono molti altri. Il punto è che non ho fiducia di/in Google. Punto. Basta. Né sono disposta a prendere tutto il mio lavoro in posti or email contacts, Newsletter/ Twitter / FB / blog / RSS /Tumblr/Quora etc. e consegnarle a Google.

      Detto questo, se qualcuno (company, small business) è nuovo e vuole organizzare, classificare, fotos, email, ecc. in un unico posto, allora Google è un ottimo punto di partenza. Ma io sono ancora in corso di rimanere sul recinto … è that’s how I roll 😉

      1. Ciao Gabriella…

        Non ricordavo nemmeno più di averlo scritto questo commento, tanto sono impegnato a rispondere a tantissimi attraverso e-mail, social, blog ecc..

        La visione che hai è a mio modo di vedere limitante e nel mio ultimo articolo, nel mio blog, ho fatto alcune considerazioni abbastanza chiare alla diffusione che avranno gli utenti all’interno dei socia. Io eliminerei la parola “media” perché non ha forse più senso chiamarli così ma questo è un mio punto di vista.

        L’azione Google con Plus (G+) sembra avere una natura diversa rispetto al resto, in quanto marketer, devo considerare tutti i social, abbracciare tutto quello che mi viene messo a disposizione da Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus ecc. meglio sarebbe avere una distribuzione omogenea e per interesse dei vari utenti e il discorso “mirato” fatto nei circles, lo trovo molto meno “invadente” che per altri social network.

        I dati? A ben guardare, gli avvisi fatti in circles (è un mese che ci lavoro) hanno un ritorno superiore a Facebook (sempre più in calo), rispetto a twitter… ecco, li dipende dall’argomento ma il mercato italiano e in lingua, può essere non attinente alle reali potenzialità che ha Twitter in un contesto globale o come lo si può avere in US.

        Detto questo, io sarei per essere meno “restrittivi” rispetto atutto lo scenario che si sta evolvendo in rete, meglio sarebbe… capire come le masse si distribuiscono e quale potenziale hanno rispetto a una possibile azione di Social Marketing di un potenziale brand; meglio FB o Twitter, magari G+ ma a seconda del target e del cliente che ho da promuovere. E’ in questo contesto che più soggetti ci saranno, maggiori saranno le potenzialità di business di ogni operatore del settore.

        In questa chiave moderna di web, io accetto positivamente tutte le novità e le testo singolarmente per vederne un possibile sviluppo in chiave di web marketing; è logico che se non ci sono i numeri, la strategia è errata e il mio lavoro perso, se ho più scelta, diversi target, posso profilare meglio e massimizzare il risultato per il cliente.

        Che si tenti di fare un monopolio della rete, è evidente, palese, Google è una parte di rete se non troppo ma la mia considerazione è presto fatta: se Microsoft con Bing non propone e insegue Google, ci sarà poco da fare, chi insegue… non raccoglierà altro che le briciole, Facebook da parte sua (vedi anche l’ultimo annuncio di lancio fatto dal suo realizzatore) crea tanta aspettativa ma di fatto, non propone mai nulla che sia aperto a tutti, è limitato al suo regno che ben conosciamo non essere molto forte e i dati PPC ne sono una dimostrazione, vanno bene i giochi virali, i grandi brand ma per me e per l’Italia non sembrano essere dei punti importanti per fare business in rete.

        Per le cancellazioni Google, di fatto si violano delle disposizioni FAQ in fase BETA, tanti sono gli account business che non devono essere creati e molte sono le segnalazioni degli stessi utenti che portano a fare delle scelte forti come quelle di rimuovere profili.

        Io ho fatto la richiesta di pagine business, il mio account è un account personale e non certo professionale… il resto lo si capirà solo e se nasceranno queste famigerate pagine di G+.


  4. Facebook can easily destroy Google Plus in its infancy by simply copying the circles feature for their own platform. The ability to group contacts separately is the only compelling reason I can see for using G+ over Facebook. In any event, I hope that the walled gardens of all these social media platforms start coming down or at least become interoperable. Maintaining a viable presence in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus at the same time is not something I particularly look forward to.

    1. As I mentioned to Glenn in comments below, I certainly don’t see G+ replacing Facebook entirely. Everyone has their own favorite communities (look at the MySpace hangers-on). However, I don’t think copying circles is a way to destroy Google Plus, either.

      One of the things G+ has that FB doesn’t is ultimate privacy management. It’s your data; you decide who you’re going to share it with, and whether you’re going to allow them to share it with anyone else.

      Yet, even though privacy can be micro-controlled by the user, the interaction level and potential is incredibly high. It’s much easier to 1) find new people to read and connect with 2)interact with those people and 3) initiate conversations than on FB. Of course, this is my opinion, and I, for one, have never been much of a Facebook user.

      The important part, in terms of social, goes along with your final sentence, though. As with any social platform, you test and, if the test fails, leave it alone. Spreading your social efforts out into four or more platforms is a good way to also lessen the impact of your efforts.

      Thanks for commenting, Alex! As always, it’s a pleasure to have you on here!

  5. I like your impression of Smarr’s comments — that “the goal is not to win social networking outright, or to kill any competitors, but to disrupt the social networking economy” to open up the walled gardens. Seems to me that the “I win you lose” argument makes no sense in social media — even in the business end of social media. Social media exists through a process of community building. The old Michael Porter ideas of competitive strategy need a new update to work in Social Media. Building walls and moats is counter-productive.

    In a way, this reminds me of the pre-industrialization idea of wealth-building — plunder — vs. the post-industrialization idea — trade. We enrich everyone through the trade philosophy, and mistrust everyone through the plunder philosophy. Perhaps the emergence of social media is a lot more important than any of us think. Maybe it’s a large scale “long wave” culture-change catalyst.

    1. After yesterday’s attack of dodgy Internet and proverbial kicking of our provider, I finally get to respond!

      “Social media exists through a process of community building.” Yes, yes! Exactly! I wouldn’t call it precisely a prediction, but I’m betting when all the furor dies down, no social platform will be lost. Each network has it’s own community and it’s own use.

      Facebook will lose some people, though, I’m sure… specifically due to the fact that many were unhappy because of their privacy issues and so on – and just LOOKING for somewhere else to go.

      “Perhaps the emergence of social media is a lot more important than any of us think.” AHA! It’s definitely a culture-change catalyst – definitely. Because social media brings us closer than, say, just email, consumers are starting to expect that kind of closeness from the companies they buy from. -And, since consumers are us and we are the consumers, we’re expecting more from our online relationships period.

      Thanks for the great comment, Glenn – I hate to get so verbose (sort of lol), but I really think we (marketers, social media-ists, SEOs, copywriters, what have you) have a unique perspective on the flow of online business and conversation. We get to see all this stuff from the outside, and the “social effect” greatly intrigues me. 😀

      1. I agree – we will continue to have multiple platforms. And things are definitely getting more exciting 🙂

        I guess it hit me for the first time, while reading this post, that the classic Harvard Business School model of competition could actually start to REALLY break down in the face of the social media.

        Creating moats and walls (through attempts to create non-standard standards) is something Microsoft tried (actually continued) in the 90s. That effort crippled their ability to adapt IE as real standards started to take hold. They are still forced to accommodate the legacy of Office, Front Page (etc.) generated HTML — what a waste ! If they had only taken the lead on creating open standards they would be in great shape. The same thing happened earlier with SQL stds (a longer story.)

        The idea that SM is a “large scale …culture-change catalyst” has already been confirmed by events in the middle east. Whether it’s long-wave, we’ll have to see. Comparing SM’s importance to the Industrial Revolution is a bit of a “stretch” for me… but m’be worth throwing on the idea pile 🙂 I’m beginning to think that some of the emerging trends are as important as the assembly line, Frederick Taylor’s theory, etc. Perhaps we are too close to SM to truly appreciate this.

        On the scary side – I have to confess to being a bit of a Ray Kurzweil fan and I think SM is on track with his (very controversial) “Singularity” theory… ideas I’m not ready to recap on the record 🙂

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