Google+: Will it live up to the hype?

By Amy McIlwain

Financial Social Media Marketing


It would seem that Google+ is simply an amalgamation of several social networking services that we already use. So I guess the big question is: What value will Google+ bring me that I can’t get through my current social networks?

It may be because of the field I’m in, or it may simply be the best word-of-mouth advertising I’ve seen in a while, but if I had dime for every time a friend, colleague or acquaintance asked me if I was on Google+, well I wouldn’t be rich (darn inflation), but I would be walking around with a lot of change in my pockets.

Have you heard about Google+? I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t, due to the fact that Google hasn’t marketed Google+ through any of its other channels or services.

It’s not that Google is trying to downplay the new social platform. Instead, they believe that what they’re comfortable showing off right now is just step one of a much bigger picture. And if that’s the case, the more than 20 million users of Google+ who have signed up since its launch at the end of June definitely paint a much bigger picture of what’s to come in the future.

With Google+ still in its infancy, it’s important to simply understand the platform and its functionality. That’s why we’ve created this Google+ breakdown:

Circles

The first thing you are likely to interact with on Google+ will be a feature called circles. The circles feature will allow you to create and manage groups such as family, friends, business contacts, etc. and organize your connections on Google+.

Claiming that the circles feature is much easier to operate and manage than other social networking platforms, Google also claims that it will increase sharing ability and be more realistic.

Sparks

According to Google+ developers, the sparks feature isn’t a search engine, it’s a “sharing engine.” Much like an RSS feed, when you add your interests to Sparks, you will automatically receive a feed of relevant information from across the Internet. You can also store photos and videos, as well as share any content you deem necessary to your Google+ connections.

Hangouts

Hangouts are essentially group video chat zones within your circles. If any individual within a given circle is in a hangout, you’ll receive an alert and the ability to join the hangout and video chat with everyone there.

What’s cool is that the Google+ system is smart enough to focus on who is controlling the conversation in any given minute.
Huddle

Huddle is a group messaging app that works across SMS, Android and iPhone and allows you to communicate with the connections in specific circles. For example, if a group of friends within one of your circles is planning a dinner together, you can all contribute to a conversation via messaging on Google+’s huddle feature.

Other notable features:
  • Mobile: Google+ claims they’ve personalized the mobile experience by adding features like GPS, cameras and messaging.

  • Location: Add your location to any post.

  • Instant upload: Each time you snap a photo, Google+ will add it to a private album for easier accessibility.

  • +1: Pretty much another Facebook “like” button.

  • Privacy: Unlike the majority of other social networks out there, Google+’s default settings automatically opt users out of being public, rather than the standard practice by most other services to automatically opt users in.
It would seem that Google+ is simply an amalgamation of several social networking services that we already use. So I guess the big question is: what value will Google+ bring me that I can’t get through my current social networks?

While the new platform may be like honey for the tech-savvy bee, it could yield negative effects for those who are overwhelmed by too much media and technology already. Much of the anticipation and hype surrounding Google+ is simply a result of the “super secret” development and slow, invitation-only launch to the public.

Scarcity is a great marketing technique and has worked for Google in the past with the invite-only release of Gmail. But is it all just hype?

So far, I’m not impressed, but the jury is still out. I’m curious to know what you think of the new platform. Have you signed up? Will you sign up? And what will you use it for? Let us know your thoughts and how you think it will be beneficial or detrimental to your personal and professional networks.