This Week in Social: Google Revamp Google+, Facebook Buy Instagram, Facebook Launches Groups For Schools

By Rob McNair

Google Revamp Google+

Google’s social network, Google+, got a re-design yesterday that makes it a little bit prettier and improves the usability of the platform. Some of the re-design elements, included in the update, echo Facebook Timeline. For instance, there is now a cover photo that sprawls across the top of the profile and photos and videos are displayed larger. For all of the changes and our thoughts on the re-design, see yesterday’s blog post.

What do you think of the revamp?


Facebook buy Instagram

Facebook have snapped up the hugely popular photo-sharing app Instagram on Monday, for roughly $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock. The sale is expected to close later this quarter, and will bring the nine-person staff of Instagram to the social network. So why did this happen? Well, Instagram is a likeable, popular product, it’s simple and easy to use and it does one thing really really well, better than anybody else. They already have an engaged community of over 19 million people and they just launched on Android last week. It plays well with others and allows you to share your pictures on a variety of networks seamlessly. It encourages comments and likes. It doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. Photos are what allowed Facebook to grow so quickly and what made it more than just a blue sea of text and links to consumers. Its new Timeline depends on big, pretty photos and Facebook even recently announced that it would allow full-screen viewing of high-resolution photos on its site. So, maybe it was inevitable that Zuckerberg would pay up for Instagram!

Do you think it’s a good move for Facebook to buy Instagram?


Facebook launches Groups for Schools

In a throwback to its college-only days, Facebook has launched a new type of community page for schools that requires an active “.edu” email address to join. Within individual schools’ Groups for Schools pages, their students and faculty members can exchange files, create events and message each other. Aside from creating school-based online communities, the pages mainly serve as hubs for campus-related groups. From them, students can browse, search for and create these groups. Facebook makes recommendations on which ones to join based on classes and activities.

Have you joined a school group on Facebook yet?


Introducing the new Spotify Play Button

This week Spotify introduced the Spotify Play Button, a wonderful new way of integrating Spotify content within blogs, websites and other social networks. Making it even easier to share and discover music, the Spotify Play Button is a simple yet extremely powerful music widget that makes it easier than ever to deliver all the world’s music to fans of your website or blog. Adding the Spotify Play Button to your Tumblr, website or social page will light it up with music in a flash and feature any song, album or playlist. To enjoy the tunes, all you have to do is hit Play.

What songs/albums/playlists would you love to hear on your favourite websites?

We are a full service social media agency. Check us out on Twitter and hook up on Facebook. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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.