Many of us have been reading the hype and build up to Google’s entry into social media and now that they have attracted 20m unique users inside three weeks I thought it was time we got into it a bit.
Let’s just think about that. 20m unique users within three weeks, that is massive. And perhaps quite a timely launch from Google as Facebook’s growth starts to slow, with only 11.8million new users in May (compared to a typical month of 20m new users).
You do have to take stock of these numbers; even facebook’s growth is still massive and thus a very attractive platform for advertisers. On a personal note however I couldn’t help but notice how Google + is very similar to Facebook but in a slick more polished way, which instantly appealed to me, especially as i become disheartened with Facebook (as a consumer of social media).
Currently still in beta the main features of Google+ are the “Stream” (similar to Facebook news feed) and “Circles” which allow you to manage your contacts/friends into groups. Whilst this feature is currently a bit lacking in that it is not particularly easy to find contacts to add, once in full swing this will allow users to sort contacts so that you can control your privacy, in a much better way than Facebook currently offers. It means you can share updates and information such as photos or videos with selected circles of friends/contacts – for example sharing your holiday photos with just your family, rather than your entire contact base.
Google have picked up on the need for users to receive alerts integrating a notification system within the black toolbar which spans all of Google’s properties. This helps to keep you coming back and engaging on the platform. With some clever browser plugins this could keep you alerted when not on Google’s properties becoming a very powerful engagement system.
Whilst astonishing growth in the initial launch I am intrigued to follow the uptake of the platform especially with the “+” which is Google’s equivalent of the Facebook like and now available on every search result. It allows you to see what your contacts are into and + various online content. This becomes interesting for the business side of Google + and how in the long term we are sure this will impact personalised search results, advertising and targeting of consumers. Something businesses will need to pay close attention to in time.