A debate within mso and whether we believe Google+ is a serious contender to other social media platforms
No one can escape the working week without interacting with social media sites nowadays. Most of us have access to either a smart phone, tablet and of course the ever reliable laptop and desktop. As you already know, there are the obvious social media platforms out there like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but what about Google+?
Google launched the Google+ service by invitation-only on June 28, 2011. It has been described by Google+ as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author. During private beta testing, Google+ accumulated over 10 million users after its first two weeks.
Google has introduced an option to add a “sign in with Google” button; it’s simply a blue button with a white Google “g” logo with the words “sign in” or “sign in with Google.”
This option is only available for a small number of developers who are logged into their developer accounts. Google has announced it will roll out this new option more widely in the near future. By having multiple log in buttons, Google is running the risk of confusing users and allowing them to maybe move into to a less “hassle free” social media platform.
By having this new sign in option it suggests that Google no longer wants Google+ to be the main representative tool for them on the web. Some developers may be more comfortable adding a generic Google log in to their sites. As Google competes with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, perhaps having the blue sign in button is the way to go for Google. Although, it begs the question are the best days of Google+ behind us?
Let’s see what our mso team thinks…
“I don’t think it was ever a contender to begin with. Social networking is all about the size of the network. I remember lots of young rebellious kids on MySpace saying Facebook wasn’t “cool” because your parents were on there; well they are all on Facebook now. Networking by nature is a critical mass race. Good or bad, the one with the most users will win and there is no room for multiple social networking sites. Everyone migrates towards the one all their friends are on. I don’t want to go onto Facebook to talk to one friend, then onto google+ to see what another is up to. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn only co-exist because they are very different in what their objectives are.”
Chris Vesey, Technical, Project Manager
“Google has made Google+ integral to pretty much all the Google products, your Google login is a Google+ account whether you like it or not. Whether or not they continue to promote Google+ as a social network and replacement/competitor to Facebook is a different story. For me Google+ has always come across more about following companies and content generators, like CNET, Slashdot, etc and interesting individuals than “friends” which is far more Facebook’s strategy. I guess Google+ the social network could disappear but the Google account with all its other uses isn’t going anywhere.”
Andrew Dixon, Technical Director
“I agree with Chris, people are too lazy to bother with two different social networks.
I find it interesting that the login button is blue – with red being Google’s core branding colour for g+ why wouldn’t they use red? A tad misleading because at a quick glance you would think it was Facebook or a Twitter log in. These buttons are already being used for Facebook and Twitter and they’re blue as we all know. Is Google trying to blend in with those and steal their thunder? In order to create a sense of familiarity and security by their choice of design? This again however relates to User Experience and making websites as effortless as possible with a quick shortcut to logging in.”
Lauren Kelly, Digital Designer
“In my opinion I can’t see it disappearing, at least not for a while. There are a lot of small local businesses that rely upon their Google places listing for business and traffic to their websites. These Google places listings are now being tied into Google+ pages and I believe that an optimised Google+ page along with an optimised Google places listing can help a business rank higher in these listings for search terms that these small companies just cannot compete with as far as SEP and budget for PPC are concerned. Google+ will never be one of the big social media sites but encouraging smaller businesses to optimise their Google+ pages and generate more organic traffic through this method is certainly a tactic that could see it becoming more popular, just not in the same way as the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Who knows what else Google has up its sleeve!!”
George Broom, Senior Developer