I finally got my Google+ invite!
After being teased by all the discussion around Googles new social platform for weeks I am now able to see what all the fuss is about. As a Google advocate I have tried many of their previous applications that ventured into the social space.
What I had been hearing this time though was that Google had struck gold, or at least uncovered a vein or two.
There are many how to’s already out there for Google+, and Google’s own videos do a good enough job of showing the functionality, so I am not going to do that here. I’ll look at components within the platform that offer opportunities for business and present future opportunities when fully developed.
The feeling I first got when starting to use the application was that Google Wave wasn’t wasted. Much of the realtime collaboration type functionality is either present or just waiting to be introduced. New posts and comments update rapidly as well as images uploading quickly.
Google Buzz is obviously the inspiration for the threaded post and comment layout, with the added ability to “mute” posts so they don’t keep floating to the top when new comments are posted. This floating to the top is similar to a post being “bumped” in an old fashioned forum.
The functionality isn’t limited to their own work either; they have done their SWOT analysis on Facebook.
Lists in Facebook are a recent addition allowing you to segregate followers and optimise the publishing of statuses dependant on lists. In it’s place Google have used Circles, again it works smoothly, allowing granular management of the visibility of status updates.
Facebook video, allows one to one video chat within the platform. Google+’s Hangouts allows up to 10 way video chat!
There is no Google Docs integration, yet, but this won’t be long coming. Google video is included but not YouTube, and 3rd party integration is currently limited.
Don’t forget the platform only launched on the 28th June 2011; by the second week in July, and under limited release, it had over 10 million users. The Google+ user base is growing fast, so will it’s expansion and development.
It is early days, so anything you attempt now will not realise it’s full potential for some time. Many people still haven’t heard about it let alone used it. But it is a great time to try things out. Dell have already suggested using Google+ for customer support.
Two immediate uses come to mind for me, Target Marketing and Collaboration.
Through the use of Circles you can segment users into target groups, using highly customised updates to engage with specific groups. Very much like segmentation used in email marketing.
Location based marketing will eventually come too, as Google Place check-ins are likely to see a big increase in coming months through Google+. Ensure you have claimed your business in Google Places.
Internally you can use Circles to collaborate with specific groups within your business. Or even use Hangouts for video conferencing with colleagues and clients.
Both of these can be done elsewhere; but using the same system for collaboration, marketing and social networking gives a company the opportunity to expose as many of it’s staff as possible to the social space on a platform they also use for work purposes too.
Now is the time to experiment; invite as many work colleagues as you can, get them involved, playing with the system. Most of us realise the value in Social Media, and collaboration, Google+ offers an opportunity to be in from the start and to grow with the platform.
How will you use Google+?