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Is Google+ Poised To Dominate The Social Media Landscape?

Perhaps the fourth time is the charm for Google. Social has been in the sights of Mountain View for nearly a decade, in fact. With Facebook maintaining a dominant presence in social networks, Google needed to exert its influence in the social realm in the worst way. In June 2011, Google introduced its latest attempt to take control of the social sphere – Google+. It’s finally an endeavor that has proven worthy of the challenge. Some 1 million business and brand pages were created in the first six months and the network boasts more than 400 million users. And Google+ recently passed Twitter to become the second largest social network. Despite its bad press over the past year, Facebook remains the social network to which all others aspire. So, does Google have the determination and resources to overcome such a dominant player? Let’s examine what makes G+ tick.

Is Google+ Poised To Dominate The Social Media Landscape? image Google 300x140Is a Plus as Good as a Like?

Google+ combines features that are similar to those of networks like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

It allows you to “plus” content that you like across the web – the newer network’s answer to the Facebook “Like.” Content that you plus appears under the “+1s” tab of your profile and we can often see content that our friends recommend as part of our Google search results. Your profile can include your photos, YouTube videos and posted updates with links and different types of media. And Google is constantly tweaking the social platform to make it more robust and user-friendly.

But when we consider the feasibility of Google+ one day supplanting Facebook, some would argue that we’re asking the wrong question. That’s because Google+ is deeply integrated with Google’s full swath of products, including Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Chrome and Google Play. And Google collects a massive amount of information about you from across its products, offering you a personalized experience that aims to cater to your individual tastes. In Search, Google+ integration involves highlighted results based on friends’ recommendations and sharing updates from friends and celebrities.

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Last month, the Wall Street Journal argued that Google+ can’t be ignored since Google is using its ample leverage to forcibly grow the network as part of its bid for a massive amount of social advertising dollars. When you create a Google account to use Gmail, YouTube or other services, you’re also being set up with a G+ account.

Communities

Social networks are fueled by our desire to engage with others who share our interests – even those in faraway countries whom we may never meet in person. Successful networks build a strong sense of community among their members and Google+ has certainly made every effort to encourage people to build G+ communities with Hangouts, a feature that allows you to video chat with up to 9 friends, conduct video conferences for up to 10 people and tune in to live video broadcasts.

With G+, you can create public or private communities through a relatively simple process. Developing that sense of online community will be an important part of Google’s strategy going forward as it continues to develop and refine its social offerings.

Google appears to be headed in the right direction in terms of revenues; the company celebrated its first $50 billion year in 2012. With Google+ integration at the heart of the company’s growth strategy, it will be fascinating to watch Google and Facebook continue to go head to head in the social space (and the search space, for that matter). Which company do you think is better positioned to lead the social market in the long term? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Comments on this Article: 8

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  1. Timely and spot on Derek. I believe Google Plus is poised to win the hearts and minds of many more “socialites”. Some enter the G+ community with SEO an search visibility in mind. However, it doesn’t take long to strike the chord of community – Google may very well have won this one!

  2. One major leverage point for Google+ is Authorship. I’ve seen SEO consultants and bloggers everywhere talking about it, and for good reason. Your photo and bio beside your search result? A genius way to get influencers to use the product.

  3. Marc says:

    Its interesting how close the growth of G+ has been to Android, including the media reactions. At first Android was mocked and considered insignificant next to the iPhone, yet it grew steadily. Then it became too big to ignore but was labeled as inferior, but it continued to grow. Eventually Android his critical mass and here we are today. G+ seems to be at that phase where its getting too big to ignore but the media has yet to accept its a challenge for Facebook. But I suspect it will hit critical mass soon. Every day since they have included communities I am finding more people I know on there.

  4. I think the tie in with authorship enhancing SEO will win the day for G+. G+ ties to blog ties to relevant fresh content thus higher rankings? I have advocated social media is the new SEO, marketing and content paradigm. Now you are seeing it.

  5. jctmpt says:

    400 Million users?? Second largest social network??

    You were quoting numbers from an obscure British marketing called Global Web Index.

    Those numbers were never confirmed Google, Inc. WHY?? Because they are not BOGUS.

    GOOGLE+ is a still GHOST TOWN.

    • RCT says:

      Even if it is not the second largest social network, you are wrong about it being a ghost town. With the type of noise control it has, G+ will not have a lot of cat birthday’s, Farmville requests, or baby pictures just posted to everybody. I will admit it has a bot of a learning curve, but that always comes with something new. It will seem like a ghost town to those that let it be that way.

  6. alan says:

    Google+ es una gran red social, I’m sure google could reach dethrone facebook, mientras mantena esa linea de escuchar a sus usuarios y ir incrementando opciones todo apunta que google terminara muy bien este año 2013

  7. Turtle says:

    The key for G+ will be the integration with search and emerging features like local and (to a certain extent) maps and earth. With so much crap on the web, Google needs more sophisticated ways to give you want you want – and recommendations and content from your networks is a good way to do that because you’ve already vetted them. Google can also very quickly tell which people are authorities because of the natural virality in social networks.

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