According to recent reports, Google is axing a number of its platforms, including Google Video and iGoogle. While some of these platforms might have just outlived their usefulness, there may be a deeper reason why Google is saying goodbye to these established sites: they aren’t social.
What does this mean for businesses, particularly those who want to encourage better enterprise collaboration and communication? Were these platforms ever encouraging communication in the first place and is there a better way?
Google’s scrapped platforms don’t fit
Google Video has not accepted uploads since 2009, which may be a result of the company’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006. Additionally, iGoogle has not proven itself to be a major player in the homepage space, especially since Internet users rarely start surfing from their homepages anymore.
According to Google, “With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time.” In other words, these platforms no longer give users, or businesses, what they need and since they aren’t satisfying today’s users, Google’s answer is to put an end to products not social in nature. Google made this inherently clear when they disabled iGoogle’s social features in January to focus more on Google+, claiming “iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are.”
Regardless, what businesses need are platforms that enhance collaboration and interaction, not a one-way conversation. By the end of 2011, the use of social platforms in businesses had tripled, illustrating the increased acceptance and reliance businesses have on these resources. Plus, as many surveys indicate, consumers are looking for conversation from a company. The axed programs focused on the individual, as opposed to a group or business.
The lines are now blurred
Google as a whole is pushing for social communication in businesses, much like Facebook and Twitter. More recently, we’ve seen this implemented by platforms like Google+. By adding Google+ to enterprise accounts, the company is simultaneously blurring the line between how people communicate professionally and personally.
Getting rid of Google Video gives other video platforms that integrate into Google’s app suite the opportunity to provide all the things YouTube does not and probably never will. For instance, a on-demand collaboration feature, adding video into a Learning Management System (LMS), or secure video delivery aren’t capabilities YouTube can provide, leaving an open door for other socially integrated platforms.
The future of social platforms for businesses
According to a recent infographic, 94 percent of businesses use social platforms, making it clear that corporate entities are embracing our highly socialized world. Also, if social platforms themselves want continued success, they will have to remain focused on groups and businesses, not the individual. This creates a more socialized atmosphere, encouraging interaction and communication. If a platform doesn’t keep social interaction in mind, it will likely have the same outcome as Google Video and iGoogle.
Remember, there are several reasons why Google’s platforms are getting shut down, including that they are not social in nature, too focused on the individual, and not centered around collaboration. Businesses should not make the same mistake by adopting other platforms that do not encourage these capabilities.
What do you think? What are some other social platforms businesses can use apart from Google’s?