Surely this is Google’s last shot at social networking. It has involved hundreds of its employees including that of CEO Larry Page, with 25% of annual bonuses to be determined by the success of Google’s Social projects. Google have pulled out all the stops on this one.
The clear USP for Google+ is circles, or the ability to segment your friends into groups something that Facebook doesn’t yet provide. Although it is not new, Hangout (video chat) was also highly praised by early adopters at Google.
However it is worth noting that both these features deliver a great opportunity to businesses as well as consumers, as it is potentially a cheaper and more accessible method to support enterprise collaboration and internal marketing.
Segmentation of groups, depending on interests or the relationship to the user/company etc. could offer some very interesting and highly effective functionality to SMEs looking to unify their communications across different networks.
It could also deliver a favourable channel for search marketers. Although we do not yet know what Google has in store like the soft launch the company has given the brand, I’m sure we will find out even more detail in the coming months there has already been a clear shift towards showing social signals (such as Facebook likes, or tweets) in the Google SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages).
One has to presume that Google+ will influence the SERPS in the near future.
It is worth noting however that whilst it has some significant USPs over Facebook, the inability of Google+ to import Facebook friends (due to Google’s breakdown in its relationship with Facebook) means it does not yet integrate a person’s social media presence, or digital profile.
This could be a significant stumbling block in propagating Google+ both to the masses and realising its success as a marketing tool for brands.