Friday, July 8, 2011

Google+ The Innovation which Integrates in a Social Way

Of all the Google Innovations over the past 13 years, I think I’m the most excited about Google+ While Google’s vision has always been to index everything on the World Wide Web, I’ve often found the many Google projects clumsy, difficult to navigate and hard to understand how to integrate all the touchpoints. Even with a technical background, the user experience has been less than ideal to maximize the value of their robust offerings.

However, Google+ is clearly the solution. It’s biggest win - Aggregation! Google+ finally puts the presentation layer on top of its offerings with a social interface. It is what has been missing from Google over the past many years of innovation. Google+ is now a one stop shop now to view gMail, Picasa, Blogger, Reader, Calendar and GoogleDocs with sharing, collaborating and social networking vehicles.

Prior to its launch, there was much media and social speculation that Google+ plus might be the Facebook killer. However upon testing it is clearly evident that Google+ is a much richer platform and will likely attract a different user base than Facebook. It’s positioned more closely with enterprise collaboration tools like SocialText, Jive, Yammer than it is with a social network, social sharing site like Facebook. While Facebook has announced its parternship with Skype, I don’t think that’s enough to compete with the infrastructure and years of innovative offerings which Google has to boot to compete at the same level

And the icing on the cake? The social layer and integration with Mobile Android devices. Brillant move, Google!
Social Graph:
The Google+ network connects friends, family and other contacts similar to Facebook. I will admit that it was less intuitive to find others when I first got on the platform as I am so accustomed now to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn who continue to send potential contacts my way. But I suspect over time this will become easier. Regardless the organization and ease of building a community (called “Circles”) was an easy Drag and Drop experience. And now I can very easily share my content or information with the appropriate groups.

Social Sharing/ Communication Options:
With Google+ we now have the option of video, email, tweeting, posting, chatting and mobile in an all in one. The Stream works similar to Facebook with posting, sharing, commenting. Hangouts, an ad hoc collaboration space, makes it easy to interact with others. The video app is easy to download and use, making it a rival to Skype. Sharing and watching YouTube videos with friends and family is easy.

Android Integration
The Google+ app is easy to download from the Android Market. Once I downloaded the app, it was easy to upload photos, share and interact. With over 100 million Android users worldwide, I suspect we'll see much more innovation here in the future.

I certainly don't see the 750 Million Facebook followers leaving that platform any time soon either. However, for those with many Google applicaitons running and the Android marketing growing, I definitely see Google+ as a sustainable and growing community once its released to the public.

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