If Google could be personified as a politician, it'd be a really good one. Always looking to redefine long-held paradigms, the tech powerhouse may have just created the first win-win-win situation in recent memory with its new Communities feature on Google+. With design and functionality representing a kooky hybrid between Facebook and LinkedIn groups and Pinterest boards, Communities is good for users, marketers, and of course, Google.
Let me explain.
USERS: THANKS FOR THE EXPERIENCE
"Gather Together." No, I'm not about to launch into prayer. This is one of the title captions on the Google+ Communities learning page. It is followed by these words:
Whether it's for your family, your book club or people around the world who share your interests, communities give each of your different groups a home base.
Pinterest-esque nuances aside, with the ability to post photos, videos, and even collaborate in real time with live Hangouts, Communities offers up a pretty cool user experience. One of my colleagues recently joined a craft beer group and was pretty amazed with the real time information pouring in from all corners of the globe (bad pun, sorry for that). He was quickly sold.
Perhaps Communities will be the magic bullet Google has needed to meaningfully expand Google+'s user base. Regardless of success or failure, you have to admire the tech giant's relentless commitment to convert the world to its social search platform.
MARKETERS: THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY
"Have Rich Conversations." Another caption from the Communities learning page, it pithily sums up the goal of any self-respecting marketer. The multi-media functionality of Communities gives marketers a number of ways to engage with target their audience on a more personal level. Businesses can start new groups on Communities, building them up by interacting with interested parties. Brands can share multi-media content such as photos and videos and engage with others in real time on Hangouts; the possibilities are rife.
In this way, Google+ Communities is a useful tool for integrated digital marketing.
GOOGLE: THANKS FOR THE DATA
"Explore Your Interests." This final caption on the Communities learning page is the most relevant for Google. The copy below the caption implores users to "share news, ideas, and passions with just the right people, or meet some new ones by joining public communities."
A search engine with a knack for selling targeted advertising, Google loves two things: data, and data. The gang at Mountain View is always looking for new ways to collect more user data to sate the voracious appetites of its AI context-based search engine and its advertisers.
Google+ Communities represents a boon to users, marketers, and Google alike. Users can explore their interests with others on a really cool integrated social platform; marketers and businesses can try and form connections that matter with those who find value their brands; and Google can do what it does best: play the role of online impresario running the whole thing (for a small price).
Sounds like a win-win-win to me.