Those who know me won’t be surprised that I’ve been poking around in Google+ since it launched last week. It has many layers, but I thought I’d share a few early observations with you.
Google+ is an interesting site to be sure. I think it will definitely be very popular, but it has a long way to go. Google+ is, admittedly, in Beta, so what we see today will only evolve in to something much stronger as the days and weeks go on.
Even though many are calling it a Facebook killer, I find it to be an interesting cross between Facebook and Twitter. I have made extensive use of Groups and Lists on Twitter since I started using it 3 years ago as there’s no way I could have managed my conversational flow, education and prioritization of contacts had I not set up many lists. I also use them on Facebook, but I don’t read streams from different groups on Facebook like I do on Twitter. I let it all pour out as the Facebook algorithms see fit. Then again, I don’t have 10,000 friends or fans on Facebook to communicate with like I do on Twitter. Twitter has the potential to amass more followers faster than a Facebook (Business) Page does for mere marketing mortals like me, so Lists there are very important.
Because of my history with lists, Google Plus’s “Circles,” which is the name they’ve given to groups that we choose to create for the same reasons I mentioned above, are very familiar to me. They help me separate and prioritize people and conversations by type, industry, level of familiarity, ability to learn from, etc. I am certain you will like being able to drag and drop people in to different Circles. Not to worry, people don’t know the names of your Circles, so you can be as descriptive as you’d like.
Right now, G+ is full of early adopters, and those who have friends and contacts who have added them via email address. Even though Google has allowed this point of entry (G+ users who invite others by sending an update to their email address), Google is controlling how many of those people are able to get in right now. They are in beta, and want to finish developing, coding, and making extensive changes very, very quickly based on the suggestions they are soliciting from us based on our use, and what we would like to see.
Google has made their presence known, and has made an impression on me regarding how they want to involve the public in building this product. You don’t build a $580 million product and not pay attention to its use. At least Google doesn’t.
We can all learn a lesson from this….when developing new products and services, don’t forget to solicit constant feedback from those we hope will use them.
The heavy-hitter early adopters are in 7th-heaven because they feel like they have a wonderful, new, geeky tool to use where the majority of their contacts and conversation are with people like them. I am sensing a bit of “please don’t muddy these waters with your trivial, social conversation like you have on Twitter and LinkedIn,” but I think they will find people will join in droves when Google lets them, and they will adapt their use to suit their style, wants and needs, not what others want.
As I’ve said many times before, the wonderful thing about Social Media (the plural) is that even though others are building and developing all of this media, we, the users, are the ones deciding how we are going to use it. That’s marketing muscle unlike anything I’ve seen in my 25 years of marketing, management and sales experience.
Among other features, I like:
- the ability to share messages and updates in a longer format,
- the ease of being able to share others’ comments, which feels similar to, but a bit easier than, Facebook,
- that the name of the original poster of information remains intact as the post continues to be shared again and again,
- that the ability to learn is easy right now because the numbers are low, and the amount of information being shared specifically about Google+ is extensive,
- that we can create “Hangouts” on Google+, where we can interact via video with a group of people of our choice. Some have said they haven’t used Skype since this launched as part of Google+ last week.
- the ability to “mute” a thread if it is taking up too much room in my stream.
- that, through the Google+ mobile app, every picture I take on my phone is now instantly uploaded to a private folder on Google+, which I can then share however I’d like. This is a great backup for photos.
- and much more but I’ll stop there as I know our time together is short.
As I said, it is VERY early for this site. Just like other Social Media, the more I use it, the more familiar it becomes. You will find the same. Then we can all get ready and make more changes as they are the new norm in marketing.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask.
In the mean time, what do you think of Google+?