It’s here! As not just a Magento agency, but keen lovers of social media, yesterday (November 18th), seeing Google rolls out the shiny new Google Plus, with an invested interest and focus on shared interests among its users as opposed to the previous attempt to mirror a traditional “social network” model focused on the personal profiles and the subsequent friendships of the profiles, got us interested. Here’s what we found…
Scroll down four years on the newsfeed and you’ll see Google Plus was “born” to coin the term used by Facebook, and it was indeed that platform that Google’s developers were targeting as its main rival, at which point Facebook had already gained a head start of a mere 500 million users!
Scroll back up the feed, and here we are in 2015. Mark Zuckerberg’s baby has gained more than 500 million more friends, while Google Plus has very clearly failed to gain the traction their developers thought it would. Google does not divulge its user figures in a public forum but, back in January this year, they did confirm that six million people posted in a month. Not really a sum that Zuckerberg and Facebook would even notice really.
To reiterate that point, Facebook sees 1.5 BILLION users logging in every month. Oh, and just to make things sound worse for Google Plus, Twitter records 500m tweets a day. Ouch!
Earlier this year the team at Google started the process of pulling the most popular features of the service, photo sharing and its video-calling “hang-outs” feature, for example, opting to make them separate apps instead. This started the rumour mill of course, with many sounding out the death of Google Plus.
Alas, on Tuesday 17th November, the bods at Google revealed it had “reimagined” the service. Could this be the phoenix from the flames, I hear you say?
The new version of the Google Plus platform will centre around “communities”, whereby people connect to and join groups based on their interests, and “collections”; a feature for sharing pictures and videos that lets users post on the same topic. Essentially, like a forum with a bit more depth and structure.
“The new Google+ is much simpler,” the company said in a blog post.
“And it’s more mobile-friendly — we’ve rebuilt it across the web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience.”
The company added that it has visited Google Plus users in their home to ask for feedback on the service. We’d love to know if anyone had a visit, and what they said. Was it like a Men in Black-style appearance? Did they appear and disappear as if nothing happened, or did they politely knock on the door like a new neighbour, baring fresh baked goods in the hope of finding out little more about the area?
Google announced that it has seen 1.2 million “new joins per day”. This is the referral to users signing up for the available groups. It’s worth noting that these figures can be skewed by an individual joining a multitude groups at one time.
The most prevalent feature was “having a great place to keep up with and talk about their interests”, the Google team added.
Google was quick to point out the popularity of its existing “communities” within the network that shared interests, for example, a group of antique watch hobbyists, and another for fans of vintage calculators – we’re not sure if they mean the abacus or the Casio we all had and hated at school – either way, people seem to love them, Google reports.
The new change in style from the search engine giants will also allow them to target advertisers towards groups of diehard fans. Google makes more than 90 percent of its revenues from advertising by the way.
Let’s hope the new spruced up version can be a success for Google, and indeed the rest of us who use the platform, after all, variety is the spice of life. Let us know what you think once you’ve given it a whirl!