Google is hopeful that 2012 will be the year of Google+. The Mountain View, California-based corporation launched the social networking platform in the summer of 2011 and despite a few hiccups, has managed to keep it relevant in one of the most fiercely competitive of all digital spaces. The future looks promising for Google+, but its long-term viability remains questionable. Its survival depends on many factors, including the underlying development platform and the support of third party apps.
Little Love for Third Parties
As it stands now, to say that Google+ has limited support for third party applications would be putting it mildly. Back in November, the company announced that it had released a new API, one that would give businesses the ability to manage their brand pages via third-party apps such as popular social management tool HootSuite. The API debuted with support for six partner services, which included the aforementioned HootSuite, Context Optional, Vitrue, Involver, Buddy Media, and Hearsay Social. Through API integration, these services allow brands to perform actions like post updates, manage circles, and monitor and measure page activity.
According to the November announcement, the initial roll out of the Google+ API was designed to serve as an experiment that would eventually lead to the integration of more third party apps. However, things have been slow moving to say the least as there has been no word of any new services being included. This may not seem like a big deal now, but in the grand scheme of things, Google+’s support for third party apps or should we say, lack thereof, could end up hindering its ability to grow as a platform.
Lagging Behind the Competition
When it comes to supporting third party apps, Google+ is trailing far behind its competitors. Just look at Twitter, for instance. Upon introducing its API, Twitter was greeted by a barrage of applications designed to connect to the platform in a wide variety of exciting ways. And while Twitter has since decided to pull the plug on the further creation of third party apps, there is no denying that they played a role in its fast rise up the social networking ladder by making the service much more valuable to users.
Although Facebook’s situation is a bit different, third party apps are increasingly becoming an integral part of the overall experience. This is likely to continue now that Facebook is focusing on producing applications and services through its new Open Graph protocol. Most of the apps we have seen integrated with Google+ have been the company’s own products. Right now, it is uncertain whether this is due to Google not being ready to the open the platform up to developers, or the platform itself not appealing to app makers. Either way, one would think that the addition of some useful third party programs could only help Google+.
=== Author Bio: ===
Email marketing expert, Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Non-Profit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email. Aidan advocates free email marketing services to assist with the flourishing of grassroots organizations.