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Imagine, for a moment, that you could use your online social networking in the exact same way you use offline networks: down the pub you meet your friends, share crass jokes and dress in jeans and T-shirt and at the Rotary Club meeting you meet business contacts and social equals, dress in slacks and blazer and debate the nation’s health care system and what it will cost.
Until now this has not been quite possible. Facebook, if anything, has managed to level relationships, including everybody in one common zone of friends which, according to some surveys, has begun to impact negatively on business as out of control wall posts start flame wars which turn people off.
Google thinks it has found the answer with Google+ – basically a Google-style network that puts the individual at the centre of social networking and allows him to easily segregate online relationships and what he shares with those who are in each separate circle of influence. Soft-launched by Google, the Google+ Project (as it is currently called) is no ‘soft’ concept.
In its blog post announcement Google made a big thing out of the control the individual will have and also announced that the concept has involved all of Google’s products, know-how and expertise with what end-users, ultimately want.
Even if we discount the fact that Google, who have for over a year now been rumoured to be preparing their own counter to Facebook, is unlikely to want to see this effort fizzle and will back it with all its power, there is the self-evident advantage of using a social network for marketing which is completely transparent to the Google bot (Facebook isn’t), helps your website and marketing efforts instantly and integrates seamlessly in your SEO activities.
Right now, with its release in Beta only Google+ is an unknown factor to contend with. But so was the Google +1 Button, just a few weeks ago, and already its uptake across the web has been impressive. My guess is that within a few months Google + will have began to make its presence (and benefits) felt and changing the way we manage social media marketing, in the process.
Will it be enough to make Facebook obsolete? Possibly not immediately, but just like Google made BING an afterthought few really worry about, it is quite conceivable that they will also do the same for Facebook.
David Amerland is the author of seven best-selling books including "Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Gets Your Company More Traffic, Increases Brand Impact and Amplifies Your Online Presence" and "Google+ Hangouts for Business: How to use Google+ Hangouts to Improve Brand Impact, Build Business and Communicate in Real-Time."
He helps multi-national clients and start-ups to organize their SEO and Social Media strategies. He is a business journalist, author and international speaker. He blogs about social media and search engine optimization, writes for a number of prominent websites including Forbes, and advises a handful of corporations on their social media crisis management techniques.
His books on SEO and Social Media demystify the complexity of the subjects they cover for readers around the world providing an accessible blueprint to better understand and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the connected economy. Follow him on @DavidAmerland. or find him on G+