Google+ is the latest of a series of efforts that integrate social media into Google’s many products. Most of Google’s ventures previously only offered social features such as commenting and sharing on other social media platforms. From YouTube to blogger.com to the image sharing platform Picasa and the social search Aardvark Google’s efforts have been social for a number of years.What Google lacked was a unified social strategy that can help it stay ahead of the game and offer something better than its competitors to its main clients: advertisers.
Clearly distinguishing itself from Facebook’s platform Google+ introduces the concept of Circles to facilitate users’ ability to organise friends in customised groups such as friends family or colleagues. Users may control privacy settings for each Circle share content only in that particular Circle.
Perhaps one of the most obviously competitive feature of the + Project is the ‘+1’ button first introduced on search results and articles in the style of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button. This little button is aimed at giving ‘social feedback’ to content owners. If used correctly it can be a powerful game changer for Google: unlike Facebook the company can integrate the data generated from billions of +1 clicks into your web search results making the experienced even more highly personalized.
Unlike Google Buzz which made the mistake of integrating within Gmail’s Inbox with an aggressive opt-out strategy Google+ doesn’t feel like the effort of a company born out of desperation to stay relevant. It offers a genuinely thought-out experience a clean intuitive interface and an alternative to the information overload that is now dragging down other social networks.Companies nowadays need to be ‘of the web’ not simply ‘on the web.’ Knowing what the latest-up-and coming social network or service is going to be is key to remaining competitive.