What Can Google+ Do Better?
I share content about Google+ because I believe it’s the best online platform for business.
Notice I didn’t say “social” platform.
If you want to be found on search,
If you want to establish your authority,
If you want to build a community around your brand,
If you want access to a suite of free collaborative tools,
If you want to drive people to your “location”…
Get active on Google+.
So if Google+ is Google, as Senior Google VP Vic Gundotra says, does it make for a new and improved Google?
“Google+ is just an upgrade to Google…People have a hard time understanding that. I think they like to compare us with other social competitors, and they see us through that lens instead of really seeing what’s happening….”
Google’s DNA is search.
Everything it does works towards the goal of improving search results and maintaining it’s huge lead in internet search engines.
Enter Google+ and the evolution of semantic search.
As David Amerland writes in his post for Forbes:How The Semantic Web Changes Everything. Again!
“It (semantic web) marks the transition into a new phase of the Web… where we discover not just the information that matches the keywords we search for, but the information that we really wanted to find…Google’s semantic search finds content in direct response to the intent of our search query…”
To find out what we want (what we really, really want), Google looks for patterns to manifest themselves from the billions of connections and interactions on the web. This is why google+ is so important to Google.
Google+ ties all of Google’s products together; YouTube, Gmail, Chrome etc. so whether you’re exchanging emails with a friend or commenting on a YouTube video, you’re a Google+ client.
What you do on Google+ doesn’t stay on Google+.
When you’re on Google+, you’re essentially on the web.
Like Doctor Who’s Tardis, it’s more a portal than a box. You’re entering another dimension of the internet, not another destination. (geekish enough?)
“This is hard!”
Google+ is complex. So it’s not surprising the average time spent on it is minuscule compared to Facebook: 7 minutes vs over 6 hours per month on Facebook. (for much of the developing world, Facebook is the internet.)
On this week’s Google Tips & Topics Community lunch hangout, we talked about the challenges new users face with Google+ and what Google could do to make the experience less intimidating and confusing.
3 suggestions that came out of the discussion:
1. Offer a “Google+ Lite”
There needed to be a simpler way to get people into the pool other than throwing off the deep end. Maybe a “Google+ Lite” wading pool where people can slowly build confidence, becoming more proficient as they get in deeper.
Google+ could lead them to different levels with detailed instruction on how to use them.
Google’s instructional videos aren’t the most comprehensive. which is why people like Martin Shervington and Ronnie Bincer have developed a cottage industry of Google+ How to content.
2. Market Google+ better.
We agreed that Google could do a better job marketing itself.
The message seem unfocused. And there seems to be a lack of passionate leadership whose voice extends beyond the Google-sphere.
The soft and friendly TV ads clearly emphasizes the appeal of Google+ for sharing with friends and family, which sound a lot like Facebook, doesn’t it?
They need define what the platform is and if that means appealing more to the LinkedIn / Business / Tech crowd then so be it.
People looking for their friends and family on G+ aren’t sticking around when they don’t find them here anyway.
3. Market Benefits of Organizing contacts.
“Circles” is one of the Google+ features that people find most helpful and infuriating.
Whether you’re general public or a business, the ability to control who receives your messages and whose message you want to receive is a big plus for G+.
Please Mr. Gundotra, could we have a way of switching our Google+ profiles and pages on mobiles without having to logout and back in?
What would you throw into the Google+ suggestion box?
If you’d like to join our Google+ Tips & Topics Community, subscribe to my weekly Google+ Tips newsletter.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.