We have heard for over a year now about the launch of a Google social platform. The name of choice for those pontificating on this subject is “Google Me” or even “Social Circles” has recently curried favor. Is it really coming in one big launch or is it a combination of smaller pieces that will all add up to a complete social solution?
Understanding Google Social
The Google social platform will be a little different. Google is driven by relevance and openness. We believe there will not be a big launch of a comprehensive and definitive “Google” social platform. It is more likely to be a creeping roll-out like an incoming tide. Effected through the socialization of search Google Me (or something) will develop as a social medium by which users can communicate and socialize within the Google network. This slow roll-out is potentially driven by the risk to Google in the anti trust arena. Rightly or wrongly the Federal Trade Commission has recently launched an anti trust suit against Google. Googles position is clear – their search engine is focused on providing relevant results as quickly as possible for searchers (to quote from their official Google blog) “Using Google is a choice—and there are lots of other choices available to you for getting information: other general-interest search engines, specialized search engines, direct navigation to websites, mobile applications, social networks, and more.” Google mentions social networks as an alternative choice for getting information online. So it makes sense that its probably not in their best interest to launch a massive social network. Google is socializing a little at a time. Maybe they will sneak in under the radar.
Google Social Search
The socialization of search has already started for Google. The results you receive as the result of a search are deemed as more relevant if your friends found them interesting. You will see search results where the following online interactions by your friends are reflected:
- Websites, blogs, and other online content your friends have shared or created
- Images that are shared by your social connections
- Relevant articles from your Google Reader subscriptions
- Profiles of people you know beneath results for social sites like Twitter and Flickr
- Web content that has been recommended or shared by others using the +1 button
Google believes that reviews and information from your friends is more important than generic reviews. For example you are more likely to trust say a vacation spot recommendation from a friend online than from someone you don’t know. This trusted information is being integrated into search results.
Youtube was purchased by Google in 2006. Its really just a social platform filled with users. Google needed to link these new users to Google and somewhere in 2009 new Youtube users were required to link their Google account to their Youtube account. Comscore recently credited Google sites with over a billion visitors way ahead of Facebook, in no small part due to Youtube. The growth of Youtube was highlighted in march this year by a staff increase of over a third. This addition is probably the biggest single contributor to Google socialization and; of course; revenue.
Me on the Web
Google launched “Me on the Web” recently. It helps monitor your content on the web. You can set up “Me on the Web” through a new subsection in your Google Dashboard, which manages all the different Google products you use. The new feature isn’t much different than Google Alerts, but now it’s wrapped in a user-friendly and privacy-conscious package. You could add to this Google Social Circle it keeps track of your contacts within Google. It has also spawned a potential name for the next Google social platform.
Is there one big missing piece that is going to pull it all together? Or will it be a series of individual components that when all added together will one day be a social solution from Google? We favor the latter – how about you?
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve playing hide and seek on late summer evenings. We would gather all of the neighborhood kids as the sun began to set and play a great game of hiding and searching for one another in the dark. My parents chose wisely when they bought a house that backed up to a city park; it set the stage for many amazing nights when several of us didn’t only play a fun game of hide and go seek, but created memories that we still look back upon with great nostalgia.
Although I happen to look back at my childhood with great fondness of the hide-and-go-seek game, there’s a reason that we eventually outgrow the game as we become adults, and especially business owners. The last thing that we want to be doing as a business owner is “hiding” from our clients – and not being able to be found when they begin “seeking” out our services.
Why Internet Marketing is Imperative to Business
Although it’s impossible to track the number of websites there are at any given point, so far in August of 2011, Netcraft has tracked 463,000,317 websites. Thousands of new domains are registered each day, not to mention blogs, Facebook users and the quickly-growing Google + user database. If anything is growing at a rate of lightening speed, it’s the online marketplace.
While this fast growth is exciting, and especially for Kansas City SEO experts like ourselves, it’s also a good indicator that businesses must adapt in order to be found. With millions of websites out there, it’s more important than ever to not only have a website, but make sure your site can be found. It’s one thing for people to know your website address, but to grow your business, you really need people to find your site via search engines.
Optimizing Your Site for Search Engines
“Optimizing” your website is a term that refers to actions you take to make Google, Yahoo, and Bing! (search engines) find your website. This is a full strategy that includes copy writing, business listings, blogging, press releases, user reviews and much more. Your site won’t be found if you don’t utilize these growing tools and tactics on your website. Your site may be used by people who’ve already given their loyalty and know how to find you, but it won’t be found by those looking for what you do via Google and online search.
It’s Worth the Time and Resources to Optimize your Website
Optimizing your site is a matter of education. Learn how to market your website so that it can be found on search engines. Or, hire a team to optimize your website for you if you don’t have extra time to learn it yourself. Either way, allocating your resources for Internet marketing is worth it. We know how the “cobbler’s kids don’t have shoes,” struggle goes, and we know that it’s hard to find time to work on your business when you’re pouring into your clients. But, I guarantee that just like those long nights of hide-and-go-seek in the dark brought me cherished memories and no regret, you’ll experience the same feeling when you pour your resources into online marketing and watch your business grow.
As you contemplate your social media game plan for your small business you’ll need to begin to include Google+. Google is now claiming membership of 90 million humans and while the popular belief is that 89 million of them are Google employees it’s becoming apparent that the active membership is growing slowly but surely.
What is Project Glass?
Project Glass was an effort for Google engineers to develop augmented reality glasses. An announcement was made on Google+ last April along with a demonstration video on YouTube displaying its possible uses. Google Glass is described as a wearable computer that actually weighs less than typical sunglasses. Different than a cell phone, this concept is completely hands-free. With Google Glass you are displayed information right in front of your eyes through voice commands on Google’s Android operating system.
How Do You Get Google Glass?
After much anticipation, Google began an application process for those who want to try their new product. They refer to these beta testers as “Explorers.” They explained their search as looking for “bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be part of shaping the future of Glass.”
Unfortunately, the deadline has passed as applications were due by February 27th. The winners will be selected this month and will become official “Explorers” who get to try the first 8,000 pairs. Applications required an explanation of why the applicant was interested and what they plan to do with the glasses through a short written composition (50 words or less) and possibly a few photos or short video. They then were required to post this on their Google+ or Twitter page using the hashtag #ifihadglass.
Once an “Explorer” has been chosen, they will have to pay $1,500 for their new pair of Google Glass. They will also need to go pick them up at a special event in San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York. No dates for this have been released, but its anticipated to be later this year or early 2014.
Specific features of Google Glass have yet to be discussed because this product is still in its early stages. It certainly will be interesting to see Project Glass grow from its continual development to its Explorers and eventually to consumers. An email list has been made available if you’d like to stay informed about Glass. Will walking around with a smartphone in your glasses be the new normal?