We have made our Kindergarten teachers proud. After the countless scuffles over playground toys and ear-shattering tantrums debating whose turn it is, it seems that this generation has embraced their teachings like no generation before us. We have truly mastered the art of sharing.
We can’t go five seconds without checking in on Facebook, posting photos to Instagram, or Tweeting our latest thought, and now, it appears we will be adding Google+ to the growing list of sites we compulsively check.
After several underwhelming forays into the social realm, many analysts are speculating that this time, Google has gotten it right. Despite the fact that invites to the site have been limited, some 3rd party sources are estimating that the new network has already reached 10 million users and might hit 20 million by the weekend.
So what makes Google+ so intriguing? Despite many conflicting theories on this matter, the main draw for Google+ appears to be the fact that they have new, cool features that attempt to address some of the shortcomings of Facebook.
First, the Circle feature allows you to instantly create groups amongst your friends or centered around common interests called “Sparks.” You can then share specific content with only the people in that particular circle. Annoyed that your mom, grandmother, professor and boss all just friended you on Facebook? On Google+, you can put them all in a specific circle and share updates about studying, attending church, or cooking while saving the pics from your weekend trip to Vegas for another circle.
Another new and different feature is the “hangout” feature for when you want to interact with your friends live. Though Facebook recently announced they are partnering with Skype to come out with a video chat feature, Google+ beat them to the punch with “hangouts.” Just let your friends know that you’re free for a “hangout” and you can join as many friends in a video chat as your heart desires.
In addition to these features, some people on Google+, including Digg founder Kevin Rose and writer MG Seigler, reported that the real-time comments section and +1 feature (which has been available on search pages and other web properties for several months now) are good for driving more interaction with their followers.
However, there are some downsides. Many Google+ people complained that their feeds could easily get spammed with content and comments from other followers, making it difficult to find information. Additionally, users are surprised to see a few key components missing, such as a search functionality, iPhone access, and perhaps most importantly, profiles for businesses.
Google has declared that they will be coming out with business profiles soon, complete with deep analytics and the ability to integrate with AdWords, but as of now they are asking brands to refrain from creating profiles on the network. This, in combination with the fact that there is currently no paid advertising space, has some people wondering how Google+ will affect marketers.
The impact on marketers is hard to determine and much is yet to be seen in the way that Google+ will grow, but for now it’s simply a new tool in our marketing tool belt. According to Raphael Rivilla from BKV, “Google+ is very cool, so some people will migrate, but there will be others that won’t. This is just yet another place to interact with our targets.”
Posted by Nicole Hall, Account Manager with Mobilize Worldwide. Mobilize Worldwide develops mobile apps, mobile ad campaigns, mobile websites and just about anything else related to mobile marketing for brands interested in growing their sales and revenue using this new and emerging medium.