Earlier this week, we looked at what Google wants search to be going forward. And today, they keep the hits coming, launching a redesigned version of Google+. Which begs the question: is it time to reconsider Google’s fledgling social network?
In a word, no. Though the longer answer is a bit more complicated than that.
The answer to whether Google+ is right for you or not depends on whether you’re coming to the site as a marketer or as a consumer.
If you’re a marketer, you have to promote your brand on Google+ and promote Google+ for your brand. Google increasingly uses data from the social service to determine rankings in its search results. If you’re not getting friends and followers, likes and links within the site (technically called “Plus’s” and “Shares” on G+), you risk losing ranking in the search results. Sad. But true.
But, try as I might to get into Google+ as a consumer, I’m still not sold on it. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love a great social network as much as the next guy. But Google+ lacks the network of “Muggles” so common on Facebook (i.e., non-techy types like parents, siblings and old high school chums — though, I admit, some see that more as a feature than a bug).
Google+ lacks the continually updating stream of information from Twitter (not that it doesn’t try). It lacks the wit and whimsy of Tumblr. I’m not sure what it’s offering that would make it compelling for my circle of friends, fans and followers everywhere else.
In short, it lacks the people that make those other social sites so central to my day-to-day. Social is people. Period. Google+ has attracted an interesting bunch of folks. Just not the ones that draw me back repeatedly throughout the day.
So, yes, I like the redesign. And I’ll continue to use the site. But I’ll use it for much the same reason I started eating low-fat frozen yogurt instead of luscious, rich chocolate ice cream: because it’s what I’m supposed to do, not what I would choose.
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