• The Google+ Project - Google Social Network

    Google+ is reviewed in this post with views on the videos that promote it and their errors, through to the platform itself. You may remember this post where the Creative SEO team talked about Google social networks and where and when they'd failed. Google are not being deterred with their most recent attempt to get some friends/fans or followers from Facebook with their new Google+. It is in beta so reviews at this stage take that into consideration.
    What is Google+? 
    Google+ is a Google social network with some neat features. Created under the Emerald Sea project nameit is the search giant's latest venture into creating a social network. They are looking to make sure that the popular products that they have will line up and work well with this platform. They have taken many learnings from previous attempts, like their failed Dodgeball. This gives Google (on paper) a solid advantage and with the mountains of data that they have on platforms such as Google Maps and through their search engine too it should mean that it will work better than Jaiku did. Google is clever in the way they call it a "project", rather than a "product" - and this subtle approach - and less subtle jibes at Facebook users - runs through their promotion as we will review later in this post. Read on...

    Is Google+ Mobile Ready?
    Yes, Google have made sure that this will work on the Android platform as a Google+ mobile app. To get this app you download it and then log into your Google+ account to set up your device. The app looks clean and has an intuitive user interface. It is very much geo-prepped as you will be able to see what contacts have said about the area you are in or the pizzeria you are going to. 

    The Huddle feature allows you to make "quick decisions" through its group messaging tool. This combined with the ultra easy photo sharing feature makes the app work very well for people, whatever situation they are in. When tested, immediately after a new picture is taken on the mobile device, the image taken gets synced-up to your private album on the cloud. It will then appear on Google+ and Picasa simultaneously if you so wish. 

    What are Circles, Sparks and Hangouts in Google+?
    Google say Circles is, “The easiest way to share some things with college buddies, others with your parents, and almost nothing with your boss.” The intro video for Circles has moments where it seems as though the wording is created by an art director from time gone by. They talk about life-long friendships and at one point state how these can "last till you die". You can see by the copy here that they are – on a very basic and somewhat crude level – trying to already sound “social” by saying funky lines like, “...and almost nothing with your boss.”

    This style of copy is shown in the sign up phase for invites to the programme where Google wants to sound in vogue. When the copy says, “But, if you want, we’ll let you know the minute the doors are open for real. Cool? Cool.” For the Creative SEO team its a somewhat rudimentary effort from Google to try and fit in with Generation Y.

    The second main aspect of Google+ is Hangouts. This section and the video shows what Google’s Facebook plan may be. In the opening line the narrator says, “I wish we could go back to those times when nothing was planned...” At this point the image to the right appears in one of the frames. You can see the we grabbed the frame where the cursor is over "Mixtape Club." This menu wording has a retro feel that starts the thinking of "who?" Google+ is trying attractThe narration in the Hangouts video moves on to being more empathetic when it says, “Being adults – with so little time – we tend to schedule everything.” It becomes ever more apparent that Google's (maybe) not looking to gather users from the youth market and they are more about Generation XThis ties in well with where Facebook demographics sat last year, with the largest audience (in the USA) coming from the 18-25’s. This group won’t be too familiar with the mixtape references and its certainly an age range that can’t be too jaded by the problems of work-life balance and yearning to go back to, “those times when nothing was planned.”

    Could this be an indication that Google are planning an attack to the 30+ market, a market that actually knows what a mixtape is? From the Circles video and the Hangout video Google are looking for the more mature social networker. 

    3. Sparks
    Then we have Sparks: “A feed of just the stuff you're really into, so when you're free, there's always something waiting to be watched, read, or shared.”

    This is how Google (scroll down when you click the link) explains this feature. Again the wording is the clue to their strategy which will be used to make this succeed or fail. The few words to focus on here are, “so, when you’re free” as this shows, yet again, that Google may want Generation X to leave Facebook and move to their new player in the social network war!

    Twitter is Google’s Enemy Too!
    Data provided by Digital Surgeons also suggests that Google has conducted some homework this time. Twitter too is a site that works very well for the younger age range, in their great info-graphic they show how the largest group for them (in 2010) was the 18-25 age range, much like Facebook.
    Will Google+ Worry Facebook?
    Well, to sum up this review in a short fashion, look at Mark Zuckerbergs's face and decide how happy or sad he is. Oh, and you may see that this is his profile picture...On Google+! 
    The Creative SEO team will keep a close on this offering from Google and will start to break it down further.