By Special K – ETMG Writer/Editor
Now that I’ve spent lots of time getting to know this new social network / social layer known as Google+, I thought I’d conclude this introductory series with a summary of what we do and do not know about Google+ at the present moment.
I’ll begin by offering a few caveats regarding the things we do not yet know simply because we’re at an early stage in Google+’s development. Currently, Google+ has only been rolled out to private consumers; business and brand profiles are slated to be rolled out by the end of 2011. Despite rampant speculation, there has not been any official information about how Google+ will affect SEO. Because Google owns the Internet search market, this new social layer will have an algorithmic effect that could transform the landscape of search engine marketing. As more information becomes available about businesses on Google+, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
On the consumer side, even though Google+ is still in beta, it already has over 25 million registered users, which is a lot more than any other social network has had at this stage in its lifecycle. I’ve heard some podcasters, bloggers, and tech gurus say that they’ve completely switched from either Facebook or Twitter to Google+. These folks made the switch because they love the functionality of the product and because all of the people they care to interact with are also on Google+. However, I don’t personally know any of these converts. In the absence of official demographics, I’ll conclude with some not-so-scientific data about who is using it, who isn’t using it, and why.
Although I have accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook is the place where I have done most of online social mediating. Of my 500+ friends on Facebook, only about 40 of them have joined Google+, so I thought I’d ask them to share thoughts about why they had or had not joined yet. A few said they hadn’t received an invite yet (so I sent them one). Most, however, said they were either overwhelmed enough with their current social media and/or they don’t have enough time to manage another one. Several also said that they didn’t see the point in switching over when most of their friends are already on Facebook. On a related note, almost all of them said that they probably would switch if most of their friends did too. A smaller number of my friends have told me that they love Google+, but they just aren’t able to have as much fun on it until more of their friends make the switch. Two friends remarked that they thought Google already knew enough about them.
What do I make of these trends? Well, I think, in this case, my friend sample reflects average consumer attitudes toward the product. Google+ (A few more of My Favorite Things) has an awful lot going for it, but it’s too soon to tell. For my part, I’m happy to add it to my toolbox of social media, but it won’t be my primary tool until more of my friends migrate.
Does this anecdotal evidence ring true with your observations about Google+? How?