Google's Social Network++

Google's Social Network++

Summary: Google's pivot from search to social technologies occurred last week and my early impressions of their new service Google+ are very positive, particularly around their efforts on allowing you to group your contacts. The giant global advertising company have many years experience analyzing your search and email history, and often display eerily accurate recommendations contextually based on your past online activities and threads.

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Google's pivot from search to social technologies occurred last week and my early impressions of their new service Google+ are very positive, particularly around their efforts on allowing you to group your contacts. The giant global advertising company have many years experience analyzing your search and email history, and often display eerily accurate recommendations contextually based on your past online activities and threads. Google's http cookies probably transmit more about you than you realize - I can be reading a foreign newspaper and see advertising content based on my past search activities and of course Youtube (itself the second largest search engine by use in the world) video has pop up ads that make you realize you are being skillfully tracked.

Google's global strength in the eyeball tracking world looks particularly powerful In a week where Zynga filed to ipo for an absurd one billion $US based on usage of their free games, which are currently dependent on the Facebook platform and hoping for continuing revenue from the small subset of people who feel the need to spend real money on virtual Zynga currency in order to buy digital stuff while playing.

For Google the challenge is now principally around allowing users to more efficiently filter their contacts and topics. We are in an era where the sheer volume of information available to us is overwhelming unless we have the ability to organize it by importance, creating more efficient use of our time. I've had a steady flow of email all week notifying me I was being added to other people's instances of G+, but haven't had any time to set up 'circles' or put people in the relevant buckets. Where setting up credible enterprise collaboration environments requires orchestration and permissions filters to be put in place against relevant governance by dedicated resources, our multiple online social spaces in this overcrowded era are much more like places we are forced to go and visit if we want to meet particular people.

The closest we've got to nightclub velvet rope exclusivity has been the by-invite model Google used for gMail and now Google+, but the vast majority of the digital watering holes some of us frequent are about as exclusive and intimate as an airport. Outside of internet enthusiasts, the uptake of free services like Facebook and particularly Twitter has been rather like a small town grille and bar -  that's pretty much where everyone hangs out if you want to find the local folks and where the gossip is when visiting main street. I've previously compared Facebook in 2011 to a never ending wedding reception where everyone is jammed into the same room and overhearing each other's conversations.

The challenge we have in this era is the sheer volume of online places we can attend, the number of concurrent relationships we have with the same people in these socially graphed places and the investment of time needed to curate these connections to keep them relevant, up to date and of course of value. Facebook get kudos as the first generation of successful social graphing at true global scale - the challenge now as individuals are the choices we make as more and more sophisticated social networking services spring up.

Google have a huge advantage in their search mapping of the entire web, ownership of YouTube video, and the Android mobile platform - their overall global internet infrastructure to support content cannot be underestimated. Now that the social web is such a heavily populated place the challenge of differentiating and filtering all your connections and content  is going to define your primary trusted place you go online.

In an entertaining piece 'Wizards of Bullshit: How Forbes turned $6.5 million into $20 billion'  David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 Signals tears to shreds the credibility of Facebook Ceo Zuckerberg's supposed financial value, and you don't have to Google very far before you find evidence of Facebook investors aiming to take advantage of the fully inflated bubble.

The convergence of Groupon style daily offers, frequent flyer miles and store shopper identification 'rewards' cards will make the consumer social web of the future a bargain basement as well as a place to congregate with friends, and the players with the most heft wins those sorts of battles. It has never been easier to publish our opinions and thoughts, however long or short they are. Bum information is an increasing problem online, and it can be very hard to filter for accuracy or relevance, as evidenced by all those content farm sites that appear in Google searches.

At best Google's entrance into the social graph market will bring more order, structure and findability to our lives. At worse the distopean world described in Evgeny Morozov's 'The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom' just connected a few more dots, as dismally experience by the Belarusian 'Social Media' clapping protestors as they were tracked and led away to jail this weekend.

Overall though greater competition at scale in the social graph market has to be a good thing for consumers.

Topics: Browser, Collaboration, Google, Social Enterprise

About

Oliver Marks leads the Global Digital Enterprise Team at HP, having previously provided seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on effective planning of business strategy, tactics, technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models that make best use of modern collaborative and social networking tools to achieve their business goals.

These are Oliver's views and not those of his employer HP.

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24 comments
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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    They locked people out so if they keep it lock like Google Wave was it will fail.
    Randalllind
    • RE: Google's Social Network

      @Randalllind
      Point! Creating a buzz (no pun intended) only to serve it up to a select elite initially could not go down any worse with the average internet user's insatiable desire for their daily information hit...
      rikasa
      • RE: Google's Social Network

        @rikasa

        True, Google already knows this as a fact, all their attempts in Social Networking failed : wave, orkut, buzz ...

        Their good point for google+ is the integration of +1, and the +1 button. Webmasters are massively integrating the +1 button on their websites, wich will drive people to give google+ a try.

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      • RE: Google's Social Network

        @rikasa: We can only hope that Google???s entrance into the social graph market will bring more order, structure and findability to our lives like <strong><a ref="http://www.maxpapa.com/">search engine optimization perth</a></strong> does!
        map01
    • RE: Google's Social Network

      @Randalllind Google would like you to get an invite with some effort. They would like you to feel like you have achieved something when you are logging to your Google+ account first time. That's how I felt when I logged in first time this morning. It's a good strategy.

      Just in case if anybody is still looking for an invite, go to www.plustopix.com, I got mine through this website.
      tpeter007
      • RE: Google's Social Network

        @tpeter007

        Takes some time to getting used to, especially after being so used to FB for the past few years, but I am pretty excited about what Google + is offering. <a style="color: black; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none ! important; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent ! important;" href="http://www.remediesfordiabetes.co.uk">diabetic products uk</a>
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    • RE: Google's Social Network

      @Randalllind This is one thing, and other is that they reqire too many personal informations.
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  • Interesting that their is the assumption of a Facebook Bubble

    I actually think Facebook is a much bigger threat to Google than the other way around. If Facebook only had a search engine...
    x I'm tc
    • RE: Google's Social Network

      @jdakula something like 70% of people on the street thought Google was their "web browser". I've seen people visit Google and then type in the URL they want to visit INTO THE GOOGLE SEARCH BAR. I think it's unwise to think Google is weaker than Facebook when to most people it is the gateway to the internet itself.
      Imrhien
      • RE: Google's Social Network

        @Imrhien This is pretty much a well known fact. It's the reason why a lot of marketers will create backlinks to their sites with the anchor text being a url because of this exact reason. It's just one thing that many <a href="http://www.seoexpertssacademy.com"><font color="#000013">seo experts academy</font></a> use in their arsenal.
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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    I want to use google plus but even after getting invitation, they dont allow me because I'm under 18 !!
    I hope they change this.
    whats age got to do with google plus service?
    deva_p
  • RE: Google's Social Network

    Cunning make it feel exclusive so people want to join - hasnt worked for me I just feel excluded.<br><br>I like the look of the circles feature IF it allows you a simple way to have different posting groups so you don't bore your work colleagues with your social life and vice versa - or the parents with your sex life! - facebook kind of has this but too many steps - posting with different options needs to be a one click process<br><br>However not letting under 18's into the beta suggests they want this to be an adult playground and that is where they may make a mistake - facebook breaks down traditional social barriers and that is equally cool - some games are a must because games and fun go together
    cymru999
  • RE: Google's Social Network

    Waves @ Collaboration 2.0
    Oliver Marks I thought it was a very clever story , your unique style makes me want to keep reading. As far as Google+ i have to go with the crowd , google gets the punt return and says it wants to go for the touch down but give the ball to the same group that fumbled the last attack ?
    iguanaware
  • RE: Google's Social Network

    Google will never get social right.


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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    I am using Google + for my online business collaborations ie; work flow etc. I find it integrates quite smoothly. Facebook on the other hand has some great features for marketing which can not be ignored if you run a business of any sort. <a href="http://www.ozbootcamp.com.au">Bootcamp Sydney</a>
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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    I've been reading about the astonishing takeup rate that Google is getting for this, but still not clear how to best participate in this boom. Anyone?

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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    I am amazed google has taken so long to impliment social networking tactics.
    I use the google plus on most of my websites I am yet to notice and significant effect
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  • RE: Google's Social Network

    Thank you for mentioning the Belarus protests. I lived there briefly and I think the protests there should have generated more attention. We hear a lot about social media success stories (ex. Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring) where an online community becomes a physical community and brings nationwide changes. I recognize that social media plays a huge part in organizing protests, and buzz-worthy feel-good examples are more likely to spread, but Belarus (the "last dictatorship in Europe") showed the scary side effects of government eavesdropping and the double-edged nature of rallying support through a highly-visible public-access medium. Folks should recognize the Belarus protests as an outlier story with heavy consequences to water down the incredible coverage of OWS, etc.
    Insuranceman2
  • RE: Google's Social Network

    Maybe Google can break through the Facebook monopoly? Be good to have abit of competition with social media. Bring it on!
    wallywillson