It’s been nearly two months since Google introduced its own social media resource Google+. It’s vaunted as an extension of Google and the way Google users live their online lives rather than a response to Facebook and Google+’s developers have gone a long way in building something which takes Facebook as its launchpad but instead of trying to find ways of scraping its users’ details Google+ seems to be engineered to make communication and sharing with the greatest ease and transparency. (some people are complaining that Google+ won’t let them use their familiar pen names but they’re far from being the only ones.)
The strange thing is that it seems to offer too much to the casual user, when it began there was an explosion of registrants but rather than migrating to the new service, register was all they seemed to do. Facebook still seems as busy as ever while Google+ seems like a future post apocalyptic wasteland; technologically advanced yet barely populated. I know people don’t like change but seriously, just familiarise yourself with it, it has more features than Zuckerberg and his dog could dream of!
Because it’s a Google product everything you do on the site (if you do it publically) is searchable. On Facebook it’s the number of likes, joining a group and comments which give the pages their crawler power, on Google+ Plus1s augment but don’t define searchability. Google+ doesn’t have a for business’ platform as yet, that’s still a few months off and currently people such as Christian Oestlien are asking business to stay off Google+ for the moment until the business side has been built. OK, we’re staying off but we shouldn’t let that stop us from developing our strategy when it comes to what we are going to do when the time comes to jump aboard. The site is already well developed for business needs both as a marketing platform and communications tool. Obviously it synchs perfectly with gmail, Reader and Google Docs, it has video conferencing offering ten seats’ which is free to use. Depending on what Google+ for business is going to offer it could be an industry killer in the realm of IaaS and cloud provision. For small business it’s almost certain that they will adopt Google+ rather than a fee charging IaaS provider.
Considering that it’s now been a couple of years that social media for business has been a mantra (although in reality comparatively few businesses have taken up the baton), you NEED to have a Facebook profile to do business in the twenty first century it’s strange that Google+ for business didn’t roll out at the same time as the social platform. For the first month, technically, Google+ was in development, it was under beta testing all the while you needed an invitation to register but now anyone can join. As if they couldn’t already. If this was such an important side to the development of social media, why wasn’t For Business in place already, and when will it be? If they get it out when they propose it will still be a whole quarter between launching the generic platform and the For Business equivalent.
Well, Google have already faced a barrage of questions on precisely that subject, there’s no specific answer as far as I can tell although they have vowed to make the launch sooner than they had originally planned.
If Google+ already has so many features for its non-business users, what’s going to be available when For Business finally hits the bricks?
Google already offers free cloud computing, adwords, webmaster tools, analytics as well as all the features we know about on Google+ but there are some other features which should be coming with the impending launch. These include:
Meeting. In the same way that hangouts work on the personal pages meeting will let you videoconference. It’s essentially the same thing but with a more corporate friendly name.
Screencasting. You record what your monitor is doing and then release it to users, colleagues, clients et cetera for instruction, walk-through or demonstration of a fault or problem which occurs when you perform a particular task.
Whiteboard. Coordinated with Google Docs, whiteboard can be set up mid meeting then contributed to and worked on by all those attending the conference call in real time. The challenge of managing virtual team meetings suddenly looks like fun!
Picasa is scheduled to be re-named imaginatively Google Pictures and it will integrate with YouTube and using them together you will be able to manage media on your profile page with minimal effort. You will be able to aim visuals internally, externally, consumer or client side, use it to illustrate presentations and visually market to prospective customers. The targeting is easily achieved through the use of circles.
Facebook failed to recognise that you have Friends who you wouldn’t want to share all the details of your life with. Indeed, Zuckerberg deliberately made it difficult to create more than one account as he maintained that there was no need for one person to have more than one profile. Perhaps he’s that one dimensional but most of us don’t want to share with our mothers and work colleagues the things we share with our Friday Night Friends! Circles allows you to group friends and contacts into more than one circle meaning you can choose just how much you share with each group. Handy if you want to discuss common industry issues with your direct competitors but not your key working practice!
==== About the Author ====
@DanCash is a SEO copywriter who’s rather too engaged in social media, ie, very easily distracted. As using social for virtual teams and matrix management becomes easier the way we do business is going to change irreversibly in the future. Can’t wait!