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Is Google+ Dead, Dying, or Something Else Altogether?

Is Google+ dead?Larry Kim writes on Wordstream’s blog that Google has dropped its mandatory Gmail integration, which used to require users to create a Google+ account when they signed up for Gmail (and some other services, too). Kim notes:

“Rumors of the decoupling of Google+ and Gmail first surfaced in the spring. Google, unsurprisingly, hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to shout about the change from the rooftops, instead choosing to quietly shelve the mandatory integration.

Although the change means that new Gmail users will no longer be forced to sign up for Google+, they’ll still have the option to do so, as you can see in the image above.”

Loads of folks have wondered for some time whether Google might be killing off its social network, especially since the departure of former head Vic Gundotra. Let me be clear: Google+ isn’t dead… but it may be dying. Despite its popularity among a focused, passionate user group (photographers, for one, seem to love the service), it’s never really caught on as a mainstream alternative to Facebook. But that’s not the important part. No, the real question, though, is whether Google+ is dying for your business.

And the answer is, for many businesses, probably not. Google continues to emphasize Google+ in its Google My Business and Google+ Brands offerings. And evidence suggests the search giant increasingly values brands in its search results. Claiming your brand’s identity within Google+ should only continue to benefit you in the near-to-mid term.

Now, does that mean that Google+ is the perfect social channel for your brand and your business? Of course not. But, to be fair, no “perfect” channel exists. Instead, use Google+ for the benefits it offers — simple content posting, clear profile for Maps and search, some favorability for search rankings. It doesn’t matter whether Google+ is dead, dying, or (most likely), evolving into something else altogether (for example, many business’s direct access to Google’s back-end directory). What matters is that you use it correctly and get the benefits you deserve.

Curious about the marketing and e-commerce trends that will drive your business in 2015? Check out the slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I’ve always viewed Google+ as that creepy ex who keeps sending you emails and leaving voicemails months after you’ve broken up, just refusing to accept rejection. It sounds like I might be interested in what it’s evolving into though.

  2. Google+ is a strange one. Lots of benefits in using the service, but for some reason, it seems very understated for being a social media platform. Google themselves are not making any effort (apparently) to increase the platform’s market share.

    What I’m seeing on a lot of websites, however, is that publishers are ignoring or even removing the G+ share and follow buttons, in favor of Twitter and Facebook. Obviously, this depends on the publisher, but I’m observing this trend more and more.

    Given Google’s recent actions on a series of its services, I won’t be surprised if Google+ as a social networking service was suddenly terminated. They have done similar things with a series of services, including the famed Google+ authorship program. Bear in mind that Google pushed this service for about 3 years, then suddenly terminated it. Same with the image thumbnails in search results.

    I think Google is simply collecting personal data and user behavior. Nothing to do with actually building a social media network. They have their own agenda.

    In my opinion, Google+ will be finished in the next couple of years. Publishers and businesses should waste no further time on it. Better to build on a platform that is more long lasting, and offers real benefits.

    1. I suspect you’re right, CJ. Though I doubt Google+ will go away completely, I think it will continue to evolve as Google uses it to learn what matters to its customers. It’s certainly going to be interesting to watch. Thanks for reading and thanks for the great comment.

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