The big announcement this week has of course been Google+ and the limited field trial. Not so limited that people still aren’t managing to sneak in through various back doors! The general consensus from those within the field trial is positive, although obviously the entire reason for the trial is to find bugs and gather feedback so there are plenty of critiques, complaints and suggestions doing the rounds. And Google are responding in double quick time and making changes faster than users can find things to be critical of!
However, overwhelmingly it seems that the vast majority of the (lucky) early adopters want to see Google succeed; if only, to stop the behemoth that is Facebook, which 6 years in, does seem to be suffering a middle-age crisis for many.
There does seem to be a need for an integrator i.e. a one stop shop for everyone’s multiple so-me activities to be easily found, and perhaps Google + is attempting to be this. Add-ons, plug ins and apps will obviously need to be developed, and probably outside Google, just as Tweetdeck was developed for Twitter. It seems that few twitter addicts are likely to give up Twitter for G+, any more than many of us will stop using email, the phone or a letter when these are clearly the right tool for the job.
It would seem that Facebook are going to make an exciting announcement on July 6th, and the money at present is on a video chat with Skype built into FB profiles. There are other possibilities, but this is about the only announcement that will right now derail the buzz about Google’s Hangouts, which seem to be catching on at a rate of knots.
Facebook has made a few other changes this week too, such as adding the possibility of Klout for brands on Facebook. The vast majority of the non-so-me world have probably never have heard of Klout unless their Twitterstream mentions it, so this measure of influence has just taken a big step from the business world to the land of consumers. Klout’s announcement about Facebook integration means that brands can customise the user experience to any brand page according to their Klout score. One has to admit this is a clever move for Klout, extending their reach to consumers, whilst giving brands even more reason to take note of Klout.
This is a nice win-win for the social media world and pushes Klout, which many have been derogoratory about recently, back towards the forefront of activity in the so-me world. Not just for businesses, who should be at least monitoring their Klout score for an idea of how effective their social media activities are, but also for consumers who may well begin to see brands differently once Klout is introduced into the social networking experience.
Whilst many have to date seen Facebook as a purely social experience, the fact that most TV ads now have “Follow us on Facebook” shows that businesses, whilst relatively slow on the uptake, have finally realised that FB is a route to wallets, sales and “brand love”. What businesses need to do far more quickly than they did with Facebook is get into Google+ as soon as possible. Because Google + is not about social networking per se, and this is only one of the many changes coming from Google over the coming hours, days, week and months.
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