Is Google + dead?
Four short years after its debut—after zooming to 90 million users in its first couple months, a feat which took years for major rivals in the social media sphere—Google+ has many “digital pundits” wondering if it might already be dead.
The list of people around the world with a Google+ profile is enormous: 2.2 billion. In fact, 60% of Internet users use Google—but only a fifth of those identify as active Google+ users. Half of all non-Google+ social network users are active on one channel or another; two fifths are active on Facebook alone.
How long will Google hang in with Google+?
Google sure doesn’t support products long that don’t meet market expectations. Just ask the Buzz, Google Health, Google Powermeter, Orkut, and Wave teams. With only a percent or two of all “Google users” truly active on Google+, according to a April 2015 study, one wonders how long the company will hang in there with its social media platform. [Forbes]
This is Google we’re talking about . .
Google+ may not be a “Facebook killer”—what non-Facebook social media platform is?—but it’s no “ghost town”, either. With 300 million active users monthly, according to the latest numbers shared by Google, it’s bigger than Twitter. The comparisons are apples-to-oranges, but they help put things into perspective.
And the new features Google’s famous for coming up with just keep coming—polls, My Business, page insights, etc.
Google needs the data . .
Truth is, Google will keep Google+ alive as long as it serves its data purposes. For a company that lives and dies on data, having hundreds of millions of active users is money in the bank. A majority of Google searchers conduct their searches while logged in—meaning the company can better target ads to specific needs, with higher click-through rates resulting.
The ability to personalize search results more intelligently means big money for the biggest search engine in the business.
Google+ will look different . .
The post-break-up Google+ won’t be a megalith but numerous smaller sites, each with a refined specialty. Mobile has changed the social media game, creating a there’s-an-app-for-that culture that allows each user to customize his social media experience. Instagram first clued us into this trend, then came Pinterest. Watch MySpace revive itself as a music-finding service. [Wired]
Google has reformed conceptually as “Google’s Photos and Stream products”. These are no longer just Google+ features, but two distinct products. [Wired] Unbundling Photos drives more traffic. Many find Google+ to be the best place to store images online already. Tons of storage, simple editing tools, highly visual layout—all these were copied by everybody else in short order.
A separate Google Hangouts app is actually a win overall for Google’s social media push, too, as it makes it easier for people to access. So what if Authorship tagging is gone. Nobody else adopted it anyway.
Google remains committed to social media . .
The company is separating its social stream from Photos and Hangouts to compete directly with Twitter, Instagram, and Skype. Competing on tools rather than platforms helps the company focus each tool on a particular experience and refine it. [Information Week]
They may break up more of Google+, rebrand the pieces, or buy something to fill a hole. But they’re not going anywhere. They need the data, after all.