Have you been wondering what's been going on with Google+?
Toward the end of April word leaked that Google+ would no longer be considered a product. Instead it would be a platform - ending its so-called competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Change is in the air. And, one thing we know for sure is that Google shelved its policy of requiring Google+ integration for all Google products. Yet, Google plus has always been about making every Google user a signed-in Google user. I'm thinking this will never change.
Google+ appears to have been reorganized around its main features, Hangouts, Streams and Photos are now to be managed as separate products. This has not yet happened, although Google did appoint a director for these specific products in March. Google appears to be playing toward its strengths. Hangouts and Photos have received widespread usage from Google users, even if they weren't all that interested in posting to Google+.
So what's the plan?
Murky Signals About Google+
Google hasn't released a bunch of details about the changes coming to Google+. This may mean the changes are internal only and users won't see any changes. But, we don't really know.
Marketingland seems pretty certain it's here to stay and cites millions of public and private users. WordStream, on the other hand, is waving goodbye. After all, if Photos and Streams become two separate entities, is it still Google+? Where do Hangouts end up?
Hangouts has become Google's flagship for communications, combining instant messaging, text messaging, Internet phone calls, video messaging and group chats. In light of its presence on Android phones and in the Gmail platform, Hangouts is a pretty strong competitor with Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and some other apps too.
Google+ Photos has also proven successful. The photo storage and sharing platform lets smartphone users automatically back up videos and photos to their Google Drive. Google+ Photos are well organized and easily searched.
For those who still want to post to Google+, it appears this will be possible through "Streams." Google says that it's hardly giving up on the various components of Google+, and the breakup will only serve to improve the product's focus. IF there is a breakup at all.
Maybe It Depends Upon What Google Defines as Google+
I'm thinking all this change (if there is to be change) is a slick way for Google to get out from under the Google+ brand that brings with it many negative connotations.
I remember when it was introduced, I thought, "great, not another social network we 'must' be on!" But in fact, I do use it and I like it. I also like that it isn't as congested as Facebook.
- The reality is Google+ came late to the social network game.
- Google+ didn't adapt to mobile as quickly as it should have if it wanted to compete with Facebook, its purported raison d'etre. Kind of funny when you think about how insistent Google's been about everyone else being mobile-friendly / responsive.
- One question I have is, who will really miss Google+ in its present incarnation?
One thing that strikes me is Google+ knows an awful lot about individual businesses that use it. And this is really what Google is all about-being a busybody, a know-it-all.
Here's an idea: Remember when Facebook said it was going after the LinkedIn crowd and would cater to B2B businesses? That hasn't gone so well, so far. What if Google ramped up Hangouts and Photos, packaging them for business? They could compete against Skype and Pinterest as well as Facebook Messenger. Seamlessly integrate Hangouts and Photos with Google Drive, Gmail, Calendars and Contacts and have a go at it.
Sergey, Larry, Eric, if you want to call me, I'm right here! Better yet, reach out through Hangouts!
What have you heard about the "New" Google+? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.