I have always thought of Google Plus as a cool alternative platform – not necessarily a Facebook killer. Looks like others think the same way that
Plus-One This: Proof That Google Plus Will Prevail
Remember when Google Plus “flopped”? Well, it didn’t. In fact, it was, and still is, just part of Google’s plan–but everyone (including the media) has trouble seeing it as anything other than a swing and a miss for the explosive overtaking of Facebook, which is what most people believe was Google’s intention with Google Plus. Sure, I bet Google hoped in the back of its mind it would get lucky and eclipse Facebook, but Google certainly wasn’t counting on it.
99% of the people in Silicon Valley I’ve talked to about this, including some very, very bright folks with quite a bit of money and clout, will tell you that Google Plus flopped. They have, in their own minds, written it off entirely. The remaining 1%, while willing to consider that it didn’t flop, are still so tepid that they refuse to stake any credibility on saying it will be successful (which I would measure as having the same level/range of active users as the other big social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Articles written by that 1%, like this one, are all chock-full of “mights” and “maybes.”
But I’m willing to stake my reputation on the following statement: If Google Plus doesn’t have a staggering number of active users by the end of 2013, you can all come over to my office and pie me in the face.
Google knows when they have failed (Buzz, Wave, etc). It shoots those products in the head like zombies, and they move on.
So then why didn’t Google shut down Google Plus if it was purportedly such a colossal flop? Why is the team working on it the size of the contracting team building the Death Star? And why is Google integrating its other products with Google Plus at a freakish, breakneck pace? Is Google just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? No–because it wasn’t not a flop at all, and its adoption rate was what Google expected.
Google Plus never was, and will never be, only about competing directly with Facebook.
From its launch through today, everyone viewed Google Plus as “Google’s version of Facebook,” because that’s the only sticky, simple headline that we can wrap our brain around. Most people believe it’s just another social networking service where all of our friends are supposed to join and share photos, status updates, and messages with each other. But it’s really not that at all.
GOOGLE PLUS’S BRILLIANT METHOD OF GAINING NEW USERS IS PLAYING OUT RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES, BUT NO ONE RECOGNIZES IT.
Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass.
We all glommed onto the concept of “Google’s version of Facebook,” and focused only on comparing the similarities and differences between the two (such as number of users it had, whether “Circles” are “good,” and how “hangouts” are weird). But in reality, none of that matters. I happen to think Circles are a slightly smarter way to organize your personal connections, but it’s a “feature” that Facebook could copy with their eyes closed in a single hackathon. It is not the kind of thing that decides success or failure.
What makes Google Plus different is that it is the new backbone of a company that does search better than anyone already–something Facebook could never compete with. You use Google to search, right? Well, imagine if Google knew every piece of data about you that Facebook knew. Imagine how better equipped they would be to serve you what you are looking for. Google Plus is a way of entrenching Google’s dominance in that area, not a way of stealing Facebook users. If you are in first place, that’s the time to accelerate your lead.
Google Plus’s brilliant method of gaining new users is playing out right in front of our eyes, but no one recognizes it.
When talking to smart people (some of them technology-based venture capitalists) about Google’s method of getting new users, the same thing happens every time: First they chortle. Then, after delivering a two-minute explanation, they hem and haw for a bit… and for a fleeting moment you can feel the struggle of trying to reconcile some rock-solid logic coming from an entrepreneur whom they know is not an idiot, and their own very concrete impression of Google Plus as a widely known failure. It’s like an immovable force is meeting an unstoppable object inside the brain. The easier answer and the incumbent usually wins in this situation. Here’s that two-minute explanation for the rest of you:
Google Plus’s user acquisition strategy is to methodically absorb certain verticals using the carrot instead of the stick.
Yes, of course Google could force most of us to use Google Plus begrudgingly tomorrow if it wanted to, but that’s playing with big, big, brand fire. And that’s not really who Google is at its core anyway. It has shown the will to resist sexy, positive impacts to the bottom line in order to hold onto who it is as a company and this is a good example of that. So how does Google do this?
Step one: Corral every single blogger. Have you used Google lately and noticed faces appearing next to certain posts? That’s called Google Authorship–bloggers can link their Google Plus profile to the content they create. Guess how many online writers see that and say “Eh, I don’t need to have that.” If you said “zero” you win a prize. All you need is a Google Plus account with a headshot to glue this up to all your posts, and it adds tremendous value to bloggers who can now claim their posts instead of having Google show a “stolen” version ahead of their own. Not only a tremendous value to the person searching (who is finding the person who truly generated the content) but also the content generator who no longer has to worry about this infuriating issue. In short–huge value and a 100% adoption rate of a specific vertical.
Step two: Attract every single small business and at least one of their employees. Want your business to appear on Google Maps, Google Local, et al., so that you can tell your prospective customers where you are, what you sell, and when you are open? Yup, you guessed it–you need a Google Plus Local Business page now. But again, Google isn’t forcing your hand, it’s adding value. Reviews, hours, pics, videos, local search–all housed in one place. And this account must be managed by a real person with a real Google Plus personal account. Now you have all small businesses as well as a new person in each business using Google Plus. See where I’m going with this?
Step three: Convince you, because all of those other things that you already love get better. Maybe you’re addicted to that new augmented reality game Ingress. Maybe your Google Plus profile makes it way easier to win. Or maybe you want better music, movie, or book recommendations–look no further than Google Plus. Want to find a community of skiers or chefs or race car drivers with a flick of the wrist? Or perhaps that hilarious video about that thing that you once emailed to a friend but can’t quite remember enough about it to find again? When you have Google Plus, those communities and that video just appear when you search for your best guess.
The point is, once Google Plus has every blogger, every small business, lots of gamers, lots of YouTubers, etc., actively using the product, they will continue to use all that new data to make even more of their products more awesome.
I know. You are still in the “no freaking way am I joining another social network” mode. But one day soon you will wake up and find out about that one little thing and it goes something like this:
Your buddy, “Hey have you heard about this one little thing?”
You: “Oh. My. God. That’s Awesome. That’s so Awesome. How do I get that?”
Your buddy: “Oh, you need to have a Google Plus Profile or it doesn’t work.”
I’ll see you around–on Google Plus.
[Image: Flickr user Laura Thorne]
Love the Olympics and this years’ is more social – details from FastCo:
The Olympics are one of our oldest traditions–a time capsule we revisit every four years. And while its athletes gradually become stronger and faster, other technologies have been advancing exponentially.
“When we began to visualize the impact of the Summer Games on branded social media, each category we were looking at took on its own event-like stature. So the idea of using a traditional isometric style to create an Olympic arena of sorts seemed like a natural fit,” explains Art Director Spender Slemenda. “We started thinking of different events and how they would affect the chart data. The integration of the cut-out athletes came quite easily from that.”
The visuals are remarkably effective at fleshing out these stats–let’s just admit it, swimmers competing for first place, even if they just create a bar graph anyway, are far more interesting to look at than a traditional graph. But there’s a larger point that we see in Pappas’s infographic that’s more important than the sheer number of Facebook subscribers or the amount companies like P&G spend on advertisements: The web, Internet, or cloud, whatever you call it, powers entities that expand on the exponential scale, a scale far beyond the frameworks of even the most impressive physical specimens of the human species. And so while it’s not so hard to imagine the Olympics in another hundred years, imagining the digital infrastructure behind them becomes entirely unfathomable.
Facebook – it can be scary for parents of kids. It truly is a new frontier as far as safety and social interaction goes. And their isn’t a guidebook from previous generations that parents can refer to! Take a look at this infographic about Parents and their Children on Facebook from Mashable:
If you think parents are keeping tabs on their kids’ Facebook profile pages and pictures, you’re absolutely right.
According to a new infographic released by market research firm Lab42, parents are keeping a watchful eye on their child via Facebook, with many checking out their pages daily (43%).
The study — which was conducted among 500 social media users – found that 92% of parents are Facebook friends with their children (of all ages) and more are turning to the site to monitor their kids’ interactions. Safety was named as the top reason for looking at their profiles (40%), followed by curiosity (15%).
But 55% of parents are also making sure the site isn’t it interfering with homework, chores or other activities. Other top concerns include not spending enough time with friends and family (45%), the potential of meeting strangers (41%), bullying others (17%) and being a victim of bullying (16%).
Meanwhile, a high majority – 72% — even have their kids’ Facebook passwords. (Lab42 didn’t provide details on which age demographics for their kids fall into this category.)
However, kids are also checking out their parent’s Facebook pages too. In fact, they are almost equally writing on their parent’s wall (54%) and commenting on photos (51%) as their parents. But even still, it’s mostly the parents initiating the friend requests, with 55% sending it rather than receiving.
Although most children make fun of their parents for their lack of Facebook knowledge (76%), most parents consider themselves very proficient (67%).
For more stats on parent-child interactions on Facebook, check out the infographic below.
OK – once again a friendly reminder to all to be careful about your Facebook posts! You might think only your friends can see what you post, but others can and do see – unless you are careful and diligent about your privacy (as you know, Facebook can and does keep changing their policies and settings!). Not only can some of these things you post be embarrassing, but they could get you fired, or not get you that next job or college acceptance, etc., etc.
This safety reminder is not only for Facebook, but be careful before you use GeoLocation in Twitter and Instagram and all other social media!
Bottom-line, be careful! And take a look at what is public – from WeKnowWhatYou’reDoing:
About the Public Facebook statuses tool
How does it work?
It simply queries Facebook’s Graph API and outputs the results. There is nothing on this website that cannot be accessed by anyone else. Try it out, GET https://graph.facebook.com/search?q=hate%20my%20boss&type=post&locale=en_GB and you’ll see the raw JSON output. This site does some filtering to make the output more useful, for example omitting all posts except status updates, and only showing posts in the last column that contain a phone number. Finally this site caches data for the last hour, so updates may not be realtime, but should not be longer than an hour out of date.
These people probably wouldn’t want this info publishing, would they?
Probably not to be fair, but it was their choice, or lack of, with regards to their account privacy settings. People have lost their jobs in the past due to some of the posts they put on Facebook, so maybe this demonstrates why. Efforts have been made to remove any personal data from the results, such as the actual phone numbers, surnames, etc. The data is still easily accessible from the API, the filters have been put in place to protect the site from legal issues.
What is the lesson to be learned?
Just make sure your Facebook privacy settings are sufficient, for example don’t publish status updates containing potentially risky material as ‘Public’ because then they have a good chance of showing up in the public Graph API. You don’t even need an access token to get this info, but the problem is not with Facebook themselves, when used correctly, their privacy controls are very good. The problem is how people simply don’t understand the risks of sharing everything.
How do I make sure that I don’t end up on here?
Just go to https://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy and make sure Control Your Default Privacy is not set to “Public”. You can set it to “Friends” but for the best privacy it is recommended you choose “Custom” and go through each option to choose who can see what.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from Tom Scott’s I Know What You Did Five Minutes Ago video. It demonstrates some very important points that consider the future of social networking and it’s impacts on a connected society. As Tom stated in the video, Twitter’s privacy control is binary however with Facebook it is a different story, their privacy controls are very effective when used correctly.
Quick and easy fix to Facebook forcing this change without notifying you – lame. Details from Lifehacker:
Facebook just removed everyone’s email address from their profile and replaced it with an
@facebook.com email address without asking you. Here’s how to easily fix the problem.
Facebook launched its own email service back in 2010, which was promptly forgotten by everyone. This morning, Forbes noticed that they removed everyone’s email addresses from their profiles, replacing them with an
@facebook.com email address instead (not Facebook’s internal email address which they use for notifications and password resets, just the one listed on your profile). Luckily, it’s easy to get your old email address back on your profile:
- Click “About” on your profile and scroll down to your email address. Click “Edit” to change them.
- Click on the circle next to your Facebook email address and change its setting to “Hidden From Timeline”.
- Click on the circle next to your other email addresses and change their settings to “Shown On Timeline”.
- Click the Save button at the bottom of the Edit popup (Don’t forget this step).
That’s all it takes. It’s a really quick fix, but it was a big jerk move for Facebook to do this without asking permission, or even telling you that it happened. Spread this info around so people don’t get stuck without any contact information, too, lest we lose the one aspect of Facebook that was still useful.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson has responded to everyone’s questions on the subject, but they don’t have much to say—except that yes, they have given everyone a Facebook email address and rolled out a “new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines.” They did not explain why (or even acknowledge) that all of these addresses were made default on people’s profiles. You can read the full response over at Matthew Keys’ blog. Thanks, @MsLaurenRae!
Wow – this is wild! Sure glad computers, the Internet and the Cloud make things so much easier! LOL from Business Insider:
Digital marketing is confusing—really confusing—as this insane graphic shows (below).
Trying to navigate through the various new social media categories, blogs, sharing sites, and social media firms is an absolute mess.
This depiction of the digital marketing landscape was shown at a Buddy Media event marking the launch of the social marketing software agency’s new suite of measurement tools.
You can click to enlarge it, but that won’t make it look any simpler.
Bonus points for reader Ryan, who realized Pinterest isn’t on there.
Is your Mom on Facebook? Is she your friend? Take a look at the survey results from Mashable for some interesting insights into your Mom and social media:
Social media: It’s not just for college kids anymore. Families use Facebook to stay in touch across generations. Friends well into middle age share photos on Instagram. There’s even an 80-year-old grandmother on a quest for 80,000 Twitter followers.
But how does social media’s widening reach affect the family unit? The brand-engagement firm GMR Marketing recently polled about 1,000 moms and kids to see how social media has penetrated family life and affected mother and child relationships.
More families have three generations on social media than just one, according to GMR’s findings, speaking again to its increasing ubiquity. But there is a certain awkwardness in having so many family members online.
While more than three-quarters of moms said they’d “definitely” accept a friend request from their child, just 43% of kids said they’d do the same. And twice as many kids and moms — 18% to 9% — said they’d have to hide some photos or other information before making things official on Facebook.
Teenagers are also much more shy about broadcasting their family connections via social media. Nearly twice as many moms as kids — 29% to 16% — said they use public messages on networks such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with family members. Teens prefer to use private messages more than parents do, 39% to 31%.
Check out the infographic below to see the survey’s full results. Are you connected to your child online, and how do you navigate that relationship? Let us know in the comments.
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