The social platform that came to stay – An update on Google+

By June 24, 2014Social, Strategy
A young man with Google+ red suitcase sits waiting in front of a door

Google launched its social platform, Google+, in Summer 2011. By that time Facebook and Twitter had already gathered users for more than 5 years. Hardly anyone was motivated to switch to this unknown social alternative. Even today it seems despite screaming statistics for Google+ (currently 1.6 billion users), few are motivated to give the platform a serious shot.

Unpopular but Good!

Why is Google+ so unpopular? The large number of total users is blown up by the fact that Google required anyone opening a Gmail account to also create a Google+ presence. If the “social vacuum” on the platform does not scare you off and you start using it, you will discover that it is astonishingly good. Google+ gives you all the features that you would expect from a social platform (sharing, commenting, liking … here +1ing, large images, video posting, chat etc.). Additionally, it features interest based Communities and a free, group, video call solution, named Hangouts.

Google+ is (Auto) Awesome

A while ago, Google+ started offering automated photo enhancing solutions, called Auto Awesome. Erase a moving object out of a picture, create a panorama out of individual pictures or a short animation from successive photos; Google+ does it all for you. Just recently, Auto Awesome was updated to also create Auto Awesome movies from your video files for you … and they look good!

Google Stories takes the whole thing even further. Take a second to check out this Google photo story that I found created for me. Doesn’t that look great! Now digest this: It took me 2 minutes to add a few captions, the rest was all built and ready to go! I simply gave Google the go-ahead to automatically store all my images in the cloud, using Google Auto Backup. This is free, and as a result I have all images handy to share (auto-enhanced, if I like) on Google+.

Google +Post Ads

This latest push for Google+ is a big one: Social media content now “leaves” the platform. +Post Ads are regular social posts that can be displayed through Google’s Display Network on any participating website. Picture this: Google+ Post Ads target consumers on relevant websites and come with built in social proof. You can interact with the posts/ads without ever accessing Google+. But Google cleverly placed a bait: Only businesses with more than 1000 followers can use this product!

The race is on. How many Google+ followers do you have? If you treated Google+ like so many – as a necessary duty, performed solely for SEO reasons – then you likely did not connect with a lot of people or businesses. The best way to win these precious connections is to seriously start engaging and gathering followers one by one. Check out these valuable best practices to build your Google+ audience and get it right from the start!

Glass – A Glance into the Future

When Vic Gundotra, head of Google+, left the company at the end of April 2014, you could read a bunch of rumors about the end of Google+. They were strongly negated by the social platform itself. CEO, Larry Page, wrote in a post on his own page that Google will “continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans.”

GlassI think that Google+ came to stay and the company still has a trump up their sleeves: Google Glass. The futuristic technology is worn as a pair of eyeglasses. It allows you to photograph or record through voice command right out of the “corner of your eyes.” It can display golf instructions, direct you through traffic and show you if your flight is still on time. What still seems like belonging in a science fiction movie to most of us may eventually become as normal as smartphones and headsets. Glass is still in the polishing phase but an early version is available to US citizens who sign up for the Glass Explorer program (and pay for the expensive eyewear). Guess what? Picture and video sharing from Glass to Google+ is enabled by default. No mention of social competition and if Google is clever, it stays that way.

What is your experience with Google+? Will you start building your following, expecting that the platform will take off in the near future? Please share your opinion in the comments below and please follow / add our Bluetent Google+ page to your circles. We’d love to stay in touch!

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