Less than 2 weeks ago, I met my dear friend and former colleague from Capgemini – Balt Leenman in the beautiful city of Utrecht. It’s always exciting to have Balt around – our discussions range from business to spirituality, from things that are going in our family life to observations of the world around us in general! Despite that he was amidst closing a deal for gcompany where he is the Salesforce Practice Leader and working on his startup on Social Inclusive Business, we managed having a good discussion around Collaborative Software and Google+ in particular! This made me think of ‘What is the future of Google+’?
Let’s begin by answering “What is Google+“?
In my previous post I outlined “What is Google“. Most people look at Google as an advertising company – I don’t. I see Google as an innovative company who knows how to use the data it has aggregated from billions of users!
Based on this “information collector” lens I view Google+. In essence Google+ is a social network. But it differentiates itself by tying together a number of services from Google has to offer. Google+ is already integrating itself around Google Maps, Google Now, Hangouts, and bringing users and business’s together. This we can see from a very high-level from their concept of Circles, and, Communities!
Circles are the groups of people you can cluster to share, while communities are groups that share information based on the interest related! The overlaps are amazing and those combinations make us wonder what lies ahead for this ‘not-so-simple’ network from Google.
The Future of Google+
So, what we have now is this company who likes collecting any and all types of information about every person using the internet! And this company has a social network that is slowly getting tightly integrated with many of its products and services. The company has had a history of carrying a diverse set of projects through conventional and unconventional means, but this company also is notorious for closing down services! So, how will their Social Media Strategy play out?
I see 3 things as a “future” move –
1) Google+ coming out as a Platform Strategy. This means a complete integration on Google+ as the underlying platform.
2) Google+ comes out as the “default” tool from Google around collaborative software and technology. This means not just “search” or “SEO” but communication inter and intra companies!
3) Taking Audio, Picture and Video to a completely different level. Given its “media” outlook – Google+ will come up with a radical shift with information around a/v content.
It’s not going one or two of the three – but a process involving all the three in parallel.
Two critical aspects around these moves are –
The foray into hardware and physical infrastructure is an aspect which needs to complemented. With the introduction of Google Glass and new datacentre’s, Google creates a need of a ‘platform’ that can ‘communicate’ with multiple groups across multiple data sources (texts, images and a/v) to give more ‘personalized‘ content anywhere and anytime. This comes in the form of Google+.
The competition with Facebook and Twitter is going to heat up. Expect an intense head to head between Facebook and Google+. Maybe not in until the next 3 or 4 years, but Google loyalists will get their pay-off if they continue pressing on a ‘Google+ strategy‘ (if one may use such a term at all)
Google is maturing. A sign we see with the “perks” of being a nimble player changing. P&L’s and groups are becoming more rigid. As a platform strategy – Google+ will cater to the consumer and enterprise market. Despite the ever blurring of the consumer and enterprise market, the stakes and communication differs. As an enterprise, stability and privacy will be the game changer. With more products being integrated – Google+ will be more robust and valuable! Businesses will have more confidence with Google not closing services randomly and actually find more sense in using Google+ as a “primary” than as “a support for SEO” or “alternate social network to Facebook”.
Every Spiderman fan will have heard this quote “With great power comes great responsibility”. Responsibility is an important dimension. As His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar says “We are responsible not just for our actions but also our inactions“. We might make a few mistakes on the way, but we need to stand up, learn from the past, dust ourselves clean and take responsibility.
Every year, The World Youth Forum, gives an opportunity to young professionals and students to take concrete action against burning issues facing the world today. A blend of Ethics and Leadership. This November at the European Parliament in Brussels is your chance. As Google and Google+ grows, lets ensure data integrity and privacy is upheld and on the other hand social media is used responsibly to make a positive impact on the world!
P.S – Feel free to “+1” this post 😉