Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Google+ deathwatch is officially on! Or is it? (Plus a look at Google+ Brand pages)

From 2011-11 (Nov)

This Google+ thing being spoken of?  Oh, yeah...  That is where the posts go when I push the little add this to Google+ button under my Blogger posts after I write... Uh, okay...  After I cut and paste them together.

I think  has some decent points in his Slate article, excerpted below.  It is well worth a full read.  But I think he missed the real reason why Google+ was doomed (sort of) from the start...  Two reasons, really.

The lesser reason is that too many people have too much time already invested in Facebook.  Hours spent uploading photos, videos, links, etc.  As I've learned with the links, and even with the photos, it is pretty much a post it and forget it environment. But, and it is a big but...

No one likes to move.

Packing takes time and effort, and even if we just leave everything behind and start fresh, well...  We still have to get used to the new place, get everything set up just right, and this leads into the number one reason why Facebook, for now, is unbeatable.  Telling everyone we are moving, where we are moving to, and making sure they have our new contact information is just more trouble than it is worth.

And how does this meat world example compare to the digital environment?  Well, we don't want to leave our friends behind.  Everyone is on Facebook.

MySpace is the counter-argument here.  People had no problem bailing on them for Facebook.  But, I would point out, it's footprint never came close to that of Facebook's, both in the lives of its users and in the vast numbers of its users.  To put this another way, I was a relative late comer to the Social Wasteland, but my father already had an account when I joined in 2009!

This is the main reason that Facebook is here to stay, for the foreseeable future at the very least.  Unless someone is really ready to sever ties with all of their on-line family, friends, and acquaintances, or unless they all join together and pulled some sort of Jim Jones mass exodus from one digital continent to the next, one would have to spend a lot of time jumping back and forth between two social networks.  Let's face it, no one has time for that.  I spend all day on my computer working on social networks and I still don't have time to do that.

At first, with the Google+ buzz ripe in the air, it looked like a mass exodus might actually happen.  During the invite only beta period, perhaps this even did happen, to a lesser extent, within certain circles of friends (get it?). But everyone I know who announced they were de-camping for the fresher fields during the first days of the new network, leaving all of us behind on Facebook?  Well, they're still on Facebook.  Maybe they are posting a bunch of stuff on Google+ too?  Maybe they have a whole second life on Google+ that I don't know about?  I don't know.  Because everyone I know is still hanging out on Facebook and I really have neither the time nor the desire to go see what they may or may not be doing on Google+.

Considering the fact that, at the time Google+ was coming out of beta and going live to the public, Facebook was inspiring a firestorm of wrath from its users regarding all of its "upgrades," you would have thought that we might actually have seen an exodus for Google.  But while there was a lot of talk about making the break, as I just said, everyone I know is still, still hanging out on Facebook.

And a quick aside... The big selling point, aside from the circles, is group video chats?  Hell no!  I am not putting a camera in my face looking like I look on hour ten of the twelve hour days I am putting in launching my websites.  Or first thing in the morning before I head out to the office, when I am working a contract.  Or when I come rolling in after a long day on-site. Or...  Never.  Ain't gonna happen.

Of course, this is another way of saying that Facebook is too big to fail, essentially.  We've heard that before.  MySpace?  Still there, still trying to re-invent itself...  But is is dust, dead and gone as a competitor when it comes to the social networking thing.  Hell, I use MySpace more than Google+.  But that is only because I run a music profile there.  Yahoo may not be far behind at this point...

Another bad sign for +?  As I am setting up all of this on-line infrastructure to promote my websites and to, in the future, promote my music projects, the news that Google+ brand pages were open for business did not cause me to drop everything and to run over there and get set up.  In fact, I am still not sure I am going to even get set up over there at all at this point.  And if I do, it is far down on the to-do list.

When it comes to knocking out Facebook?  Not looking too good.  But as for following Google Buzz to the garden of spectacular failure?

You might have noticed that I tossed a little asterisk in my opening about Google+'s eminent demise.

Glancing over the clips below, much of the debate seems to revolve not around whether or not Google+ will replace Facebook in the short term, but how it will link together the functionality of the Google product lines, streamlining them and integrating social network functionality in ways that can then either augment people's Facebook profiles or, eventually, lead to Google+'s ascension to the social networking throne.

Either way, far from dying young, Google+ may grow up into something that most of us, outside of the company, at least, never even imagined.

Well, maybe.  I  counter that idea with Google Buzz.  D.O.A.

Then again, it is hard to imagine that Google really learning nothing from that effort, and just in my own life, I notice a startling trend.

Almost everything I do these days on-line, outside of Facebook, I either am already primarily using Google products or I am thinking about switching to Google products.  What is notable about this is that in every single case where I switched over to a Google product, it was never because it was a Google product, because of the brand, it was because it beat the pants off of what I was already using or the other products I reviewed during my selection process.

This happened slowly and subtly over the course of years.  Right now, I still use My.Yahoo for my homepage.  Why?  Because I spent a long time getting it set up with all of the feeds I like and it seems like a pain to move.  It works for me and I have no reason, at this point, want to move anywhere.  Point for Yahoo and Facebook.

But I have just switched from using Yahoo Mail to Hotmail/Live for my primary email (after 10 plus years on Yahoo Mail).  The reason I left Yahoo is because, after ten plus years of using the same email address, it has been used as a mask so many times that my emails tend to go straight into spam cans.  But why did I move to Hotmail of all places?  Only because I could not get the email address I wanted from Google.  That is actually one in the win column for Google, a lucky break for Microsoft, and a definite loss for Yahoo.

I am using the Yahoo calendar for now.  I am probably going to move to Google when I get the chance, for various reasons.

Shopping for a decent, free photo editor, I found the Picasa editor, another Google product.  Now this did not automatically marry me to their Web Albums.  Though the smooth integration between editor and on-line albums is huge, syncing my hard drive folders to the on-line folders, I still gave flikr (owned by Yahoo) a fair shake and occasionally post some stuff there.  But in the end, even though flikr has a lot more bells and whistles, Picasa just works for me.

Just the other day I wrote about ditching MS Internet Explorer for Chrome...

For years, I hosted my websites on Yahoo (well, GeoCities first, before they were bought by Yahoo).  Today?  Google Sites.

My main blogs have always been on Blogger, even before it was purchased by Google...  Gave LiveJournal a shot for a couple years with one of my blogs and, yep, I just moved that blog over to Blogger.

Oh, and YouTube?  Moved there recently after deciding that posting my videos on Facebook sucked.

I am sure that I am missing a few other things.

So Google pretty much owns me.  The flip side of the trend is a lot of my business migrating away from Yahoo.  I will call that one.  Stick a fork in them, they're done.  Looking at their desperate search for a buyer, I think everyone knows it.

Google is on the flip side of that coin, and it would not surprise me to wake up one day and realize that, somewhere along the line, Google+ became absolutely essential to my on-line endeavors while I barely even noticed it was happening.

So I won't count them out.  Not at all.  But, it would surprise me at this point to see this future, essential functionality being something that replaced Facebook.  Instead, I think it will be something new and different that just sneaks up on us.  Or Google might just end up buying Facebook some day.  These upstart kids are going to be huge one day!  (Sorry, drifted back about three quarters of a decade there for a minute.)  Or maybe I just drank too much of their corporate kool-aid today reading these articles and am falling for their corporate spin.

I think not.  I base my opinion here much more on that slow progression I made over the years from Yahoo and Microsoft to Google.  A progression I made without even realizing I was making it.  Even a year ago, I still though of Google as, primarily, a search engine.  Silly me.

This is why I go ahead and post up to my Google+ page, even if I rarely actually visit the site.  Because you just never know what the future holds and, someday, I may find that I will be happy that I was there all along, from the beginning.

Maybe I should move the task of creating a brand page a little further up on my to-do list?  Then again, Google's running a marathon strategy here, not a sprint.  II am sure that I do have some time.  And if I never get around to it, I may realize, one day long after the fact, that it was done for me without me even noticing.

Google+ had a chance to compete with Facebook. Not anymore. - Slate Magazine:
The episode illustrated a persistent and likely fatal problem for Google’s effort to take on Facebook: There’s nothing to do on Google+, and every time someone figures out a possible use for it, Google turns out the lights."

The real test of Google’s social network is what people do after they join. As far as anyone can tell, they aren’t doing a whole lot.

In theory, it was appealing to send “private” messages to certain groups, but in practice I thought most people would find it tedious to categorize their friendships. And apart from the Circles feature—which Facebook quickly co-opted—I didn’t think Google+ distinguished itself from its rivals in any compelling way. I still don’t.

And yet, I’ve been surprised by just how dreary the site has become. Although Google seems determined to keep adding new features, I suspect there’s little it can do to prevent Google+ from becoming a ghost town. Google might not know it yet, but from the outside, it’s clear that G+ has started to die—it will hang on for a year, maybe two, but at some point Google will have to put it out of its misery.
Google+ is not a social network, but it’s not a graveyard, either | VentureBeat
Over the past couple of weeks, the Internet’s frothy enthusiasm over Google+ has dried into proclamations of its imminent death.
Social media experts and bloggers who were one month ago hailing the fledgling service as the second coming of Christ are now calling it a graveyard and a ghost town.
But from where Google executive Bradley Horowitz sits, in an office on the Google campus in Mountain View, the vista isn’t nearly so dire.

“I don’t blame the pundits,” he says, “they’re not privy to our long-term strategies.”
The comment may seem snide or passive-aggressive; it’s also true to some extent. To understand Google’s plans for Plus, Horowitz says, you need to listen less and watch more.
“Six months from now, it will become increasingly apparent what we’re doing with Google+,” he says with a measure of opacity. “It will be revealed less in what we say and more in the product launches we reveal week by week.”
Over the past couple of weeks, we have, in fact, been seeing Google+’s social features creep into other Google web products, including Reader and Blogger
Google+ is everywhere: First Reader, now Blogger, soon everything else | VentureBeat:
Google is gradually integrating Google+ features into all its web products. We heard it at Google’s Mountain View campus last week from the Google+ team, and it’s fast becoming a reality.
Googlers see Google+ as “more than a social network or a collection of communication tools; it’s Google’s plan to bring social information into everything you do on the web, from shopping to search to email and beyond,” the team told us.
The new profile-editing tools show an upcoming integration with Google’s new social tools. Although those features can’t currently be activated, a dialog inside Blogger’s user profile editor reads, “Connect Blogger to Google+: Use your Google profile and get access to upcoming Google+ features on Blogger.”
Google+ Brand Pages vs. Facebook Fan Pages:
...should a company have a Facebook page and a Google+ page?
Although it’s still too early to tell what will come of it, many major companies are taking on the additional network. So far, it seems the main differences between the two are Facebook’s applications and advertisers versus Google+’s Hangouts feature. From video chats with Muppets to exclusive deals for liking a page, these are just a few ways companies are getting creative.
'via Blog this'

Some of the comments on the Brand pages article:
snook chaipornvadee
Goolge+ pages is still very post based and not very interactive. However, the ability to be able to target specific audiences will help for the marketers. I saw that Britney Spears was asking her followers to tell her what country they are from. She circled them into different countries. That is very crucial in terms of niche marketing which will be important in the future when brands have to target different markets. Brands can make posts in different languages according to the countries. Brands can bombard info that pertain to different niche markets without annoying other fans.
G+ fan page is stronger and more beneficial to the brands and marketers in terms of foundation. But facebook has number....
I think that google plus is already a great place for certain markest especially social media savvy, early tech adopters, photographers, food bloggers, and a few more. However, it lacks the “regular” people.
I believe that google+ will gain more active users in the coming months and years thanks to all the other google services that will be linked to it. Active users on other google services like Picasa, Maps, Android, etc will find Google+ to be beneficial.
Google needs to make Google+ feels like a necessity rather than “another” social media site. It depends on how hard google forces G+ upon us, we may not even have a choice but to have an account.
The marketers will find Google+ to be another outlet to connect with their audiences just like how twitter, reddit, and tumblr are. The more outlets, the better for the marketers. 
Google+ is now awfully popular in Taiwan and other Chinese speaking countries. At least, brands can find good uses there....
I don’t like how people say that google fails at social media, when the second largest search engine after google is youtube, which is also a social media and has all the social aspects.
Youtube has united the world more than any other social media sites. (my personal opinion).

Jay Killeen
Further to this it is inevitable that with Google Analytics integration you won’t need to ask your fans for info to be able to circle them. Just let Analytics create the circles for you...

You didn’t know this:
● You can also target your Facebook Pages Posts to specific audiences by Language.
● Facebook lets you know which countries your fans come from. Britney Spears will find this useful.
● If Google+ has a new feature, Facebook will simply copy it. And so, we Facebook Page Admins have more reason to use our Facebook Pages as the primary business page.
● I will still create a Google+ version of my Facebook Pages, for the same reason I would create Twitter Accounts for my Facebook Pages. And then use a web service that lets you crosspost among them.

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