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Is Google+ worth your time?

[1]By Mark Evans

Is Google+ worth your time?

It’s a question many brands and individuals have probably been asking since the service was launched in July, 2011 after more than a year of work behind the scenes.

On the surface, it seems that Google+ has been a huge success with more than 100 million “active” investors among the 400 million people who have signed up for the service, which lets people share information and communicate with friends and business colleagues.

Even so, there seems to be ambivalence about Google+, which Google describes as a  “social layer” that sits on top of its other services – as opposed to a social network.

Although there are some good features, particularly “Hangouts”, which makes it easy to have video group discussions, there is the sense many brands or people have joined Google+ because they believe they must have a presence, even though they might not use the service much, if at all.

Aside the digital “real estate” play, Google+ has been regarded as a must-do because it was thought Google favored content had been shared a lot within Google+. Google’s search chief, Amit Singhal, recently said, however, Google is no longer prioritizing Google+ results.

If better search results are not a major reason for using Google+, it raises the question about why brands or individuals would want to use it at a time when they are allocating a lot of time and resources to rival services such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The answer, although arguably not definitive, is that Google+ is worth some of your time, if only to stay abreast of how the service evolves and how it might be used to drive corporate and personal brands.

In some respects, Google+ is still work in progress as Google tries to figure out how to position it within the ultra-competitive social media landscape.

One path being pursued by Google is integrating Google+ into its other services such as Gmail and YouTube. This could be an interesting opportunity for brands and people who rely on these services to provide a seamless experience for themselves and their customers.

Another approach to Google+ is experimenting with its features. As a new and, in some ways, different platform than Facebook, there could be opportunties to use Google+ in new and different ways to drive communications, marketing and sales. Some companies, for examples, may see “Hangouts” as a “killer app” to drive collaboration and teambuilding.

It is left to be seen if Google+ will become a larger and more vibrant place but unlike the now defunct Google Wave, for example, it would be fair to say that Google+ will be sticking around for a while.

It means ignoring Google+ or dismissing it as irrelevant would be a mistake even if its usefulness and utility are still unclear for now.


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