What is Google+?

By Rob McNair

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So you may have seen a lot of fuss being made about Google’s new stab at social networking in the form of ‘Google+’, which was announced last night.

Following on from the-not-so-succesful ‘Buzz’ and ‘Wave’, Google it would seem has a lot of making up to do in the social space. That’s an understatement considering the popularity of Facebook; can Google+ ever lay a finger on Zuckerberg’s empire?

We’ve pulled together some of the chat going on and some helpful vids to give you the lowdown.

What is Google+?

What is being said?

Wired says:

The parts announced Tuesday represent only a portion of Google’s plans. In an approach the company refers to as “rolling thunder,” Google has been quietly been pushing out pieces of its ambitious social strategy — there are well over 100 launches on its calendar. When some launches were greeted by yawns, the Emerald Sea team leaders weren’t ruffled at all — lack of drama is part of the plan. Google has consciously refrained from contextualizing those products into its overall strategy.

That will begin now, with the announcement of the two centerpieces of Google+. But even this moment — revealed in a blog post that marks the first limited “field tests” outside the company — will be muted, because it marks just one more milestone in a long, tough slog to remake Google into something more “people-centric.”

GigaOM says:

One of the reasons why I think Facebook is safe is because it cannot be beaten with this unified strategy. Theoretically speaking, the only way to beat Facebook is through a thousand cuts. Photo sharing services such as Instagram can move attention away from Facebook, much like other tiny companies who can bootstrap themselves based on Facebook social graph and then built alternative graphs to siphon away attention from Facebook. Google, could in theory go one step further – team up with alternative social graphs such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr and use those graphs to create an uber graph.

TechCrunch says:

Overall, I’m impressed by Google+ after day one. Of course, like many, I also had fairly low expectations of anything Google tried to do in the social sphere after Wave and Buzz. Still, I used Google+ for hours and kept coming back. And I have a desire to come back tomorrow. That’s never a bad thing.

Google has done a very good job with the early execution. Can they maintain that? Once the novelty is gone, will there be a reason to use it? And will the idea scale — meaning both in absolute size and in terms of moving beyond an early adopter market? Remember, as great as FriendFeed was, it never really went beyond the early adopters.

Of course, you could also make the case (as I once presciently did) that a lot of what FriendFeed was is now being used by hundreds of millions of people around the world inside of Facebook. Google, given its size, will have a similar opportunity to take their concepts to the masses. It didn’t work with Buzz, will it with Google+?

Let’s revisit the question in about a month.

Would you make the switch from Facebook to Google+?

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This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.