iStock 000017356039XSmall Google, Who Are you?

Dear Google, I do not understand you. Why do you end life for Feedburner and now Reader. Why do you have G+ cover images the size of Texas yet you are investing in self driving cars?

I understand that the usage of Google Reader may be going down. However, what about your loyal geeks that still love it? I remember Feedburner was suppose to go away, yet it’s still working.

The question is Google, do you know who you are? Do you know what your customers want? Are you providing them what they want and need? Do you care what we want? Or is your goal to make it as difficult as possible for the local large and small businesses to show up on your search?

Why is it I just moved to a new developing area near Orlando, Fl and find many businesses are not on Google search? I am not just referencing only small, broke companies but very large chains, big brands.

If these companies do have a presence on Google most of their websites are not integrated, a working map is hard to find. Yet I can go to Facebook and easily find their menus, website urls, local theaters with movie times, and easily see which of my friends checked in or rated them. It’s all just a click or two away on Facebook yet I spent literally 15 minutes searching for a large chain store and a movie theater on Google. This is not good for obvious reasons.

The new local review built into G+ is cool… IF my friends were on G+. However, only my online geeky friends are on G+ and most of them don’t live near me so are not reviewing the local businesses I want to visit and need a referral.

iStock 000017246937XSmall Google, Who Are you?

Google, in my humble opinion you have an identity & strategy problem. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know if you do either. Your current actions are not making me think you do. Yes, you may have an integrated strategy that is going to “blow me down Popeye”. However, I am not seeing it.

I use your apps, though not all of them. I love the new Google maps app that speaks to me and is so ever kind even if I make a wrong turn. Her voice is better than any competing app I have used. However, I fear putting too many eggs in your basket as one day you will just take them away with a three month notice.

We have seen excellent result from almost day one of integrating Google+ into our online strategy. However, it is not solely because of G+. It is the fact we have an integrated strategy inclusive of content, goals, objectives, understanding of our audience, how we can connect with them and how we can make Google work for our needs.

My concern is that many businesses do not have the same knowledge. I am seeing many small businesses start to “throw in the towel.” It is becoming too difficult for them and they simply can’t afford to maintain what it takes to rank well on Google. Their budgets are tight, and they are torn between providing content that inspires and connects with their audience that they can easily post on Facebook or taking time to figure out Google, again and again.

Obviously I think they need to do all of the above. However, I am tired of selling them on the fact and don’t do it anymore. If a business doesn’t want to implement an integrated strategy we likely don’t work with them.

Yet it is the businesses who are not doing this that I worry about. It’s also what makes me worry about your future. As where will those businesses go? Facebook? They are already on Facebook. Facebook is working for many and as I mentioned above it’s where I found my neighborhood movie theater, restaurants and more when moving to a new developing part of Orlando, Florida.

Yes, I still love you. I still will use your apps. I just question who you are that I love. It is a confusing feeling. I want to love you, I really do. However, it is the trust that is weakening. I fear you don’t have good plans to take care of my clients in a way that they come first, not your desire to stomp Facebook.

Yes, I know you have an integrated strategy for mobile and that killing Reader is part of such. However, what about those of us who like to read our blogs on an iPad, Macbook pro or even those crazies who yes, still use a PC loaded with Windows 8. Sorry, Google but they are still top readers on my blog. Remember, my friends, colleagues, clients, partners, and community read my blog and they are not all on G+. They will NOT go to G+ or an Android device to read my blog.

I recently lived in a very large neighborhood in Tampa, Fl. It had a high tech savvy demographic. Everything the members of the community did was on Facebook. We had Facebook groups with members in the thousands. Why should these people move from Facebook to your G+ communities? They already have their little leagues groups, online neighborhood yard sales, business referral network, all tightly connected on Facebook. Everyone is there. I can literally count on one hand the number of people in this neighborhood that are on G+. The neighbors that are on G+ are geeks like me, will read this post and likely find it difficult to prove me wrong.

As I always say, eventually you must find a way to get people “there.” What are you going to do to truly attract the businesses and people beyond something you think they “have” to do to show up on search?

So, as you are making your plans in the coming months and years I do hope you will remember who we are. I hope you will help remind us who you are and that we can have a better relationship with more known than not known future together.

Thanks to @MarkSchaefer for starting this conversation on Facebook this morning. I then continued the conversation by posting a few questions to my personal Facebook business page and those participating asked if I could take it to a more public forum for broader discussion.

What are your thoughts?