Google+ came out with the long-awaited Google+ Pages on Monday, 11/7/11 without a lot of fanfare, but it wasn’t long before the debate began anew as to whether the network is dead, most recently argued by Farhad Manjoo on his Slate technology blog. I put a page up for Opticom Consulting as soon as the Google+ Pages functionality was available and I have an alternate opinion. I think Google+ is just getting started, for a couple of reasons. First, Google is still the powerhouse in Search and offering Google+ pages is definitely gold to businesses who advertise on the web (which is pretty much everyone). They are offering a new feature associated with Google+ Pages called Direct Connect, which is a one-click access to a company’s Google+ Page from a Google search. Everyone will be scrambling like mad to get a better showing on Google search and access to this product. The question is, of course, will there be enough additional content on Google+ to make it attract enough users to make it worthwhile to advertise there?
Well, I think that Google+ may be a bit lean at the moment, but it’s pretty clear that they are not trying to be a Facebook clone. They are really trying to be a social backbone in a way that it would be hard for Facebook to compete with. The fact that they are incorporating the functions of Reader is the first step. The next available step for them is to tighten the integration with Gmail, which is already the dominant email platform on the web. They have already coupled Google+ with a decent chat service (Messenger) and there is also a tight integration with Android. In fact, Opticom is moving our internal messaging to Google+from Skype because the integration with Android is so good. In just a few years, I believe that Google will position Google+ as the one place to stop on the web, just like it was with Search, and other services like Facebook will simply hang off that backbone. Users won’t have to move all of the pictures of their cats off of Facebook, they will simply use Google+ to access their Facebook content and overlay it with all of their other social media. Brilliant!