Google+ Offers Great Business Potential

News in the online world this week has been dominated by Google’s unveiling of their long anticipated social play dubbed Google+. Headlines wonder if this is their answer to slow Facebook’s growing dominance in the social space.

The company is rolling Google+ out in limited trial, so it may be a while before everyone can gain access.

My view is that no one thing can slow Facebook, they’ve simply grown too large and too important for too many people. Facebook is a social network, built from the ground up for that purpose, by a company that does nothing else.

Google+ is a form of social network, built by a company that turned search into an ad platform and realizes that if they don’t tap people’s social, local and real time interactions as part of search, the cash machine will be at risk.

However, at first glance I think Google+ has a lot to offer businesses and I could see a few of the features of Google+ being baked into the Google Enterprise offering.

A lot of business folks are still leery of mixing Facebook’s personal profile with business. Google+ might just offer business folks a way to start a pure business play, fresh and away from the the more personal aspects of Facebook. Of course this only works if business people embrace the Google+ approach.

The major difference with Google+ is that it’s not a place to hangout, it’s a set of tools accessed through your existing Google account and delivered through a toolbar that also gives easy access to all of your Google tools.

Google has produced a series of 11 videos that highlights the features on Google+

Below is a quick overview of the key features of Google+


This is how Google wants to let you organize your network. The idea here is that you have many different circles – business, friends, family, coworkers, etc and calling them all friends and sharing everything with all is a fundamental flaw in the Facebook network. Facebook does have grouping, but I think circles could make it easier for people with large personal Facebook networks to segment their business activity much more easily by moving all business networking to this different platform.


Essentially this is group video chat done right that uses HTML5 instead of flash. This tool lets you tell your circles that you’re online right now if they want to jump in and do video chat. My guess is this will be very popular with friends and family types and could poke a hole in Microsoft’s new baby Skype. The business application, teams to interact, groups to collaborate or people to quickly present new information, is immediate. This might be one the best features.


This is the Google+ sharing function that let’s users identify and share stuff related to topics they care about. It’s much like a bookmarking tool with social sharing in your network added. This could be a great way for a business group to highlight, distribute and discuss important industry news, research or competitive analysis.

Instant uploads

Google+ has a strong mobile side to it – something that Google is obsessed with and rightly so. Instant Uploads takes your photos and videos, shot on your mobile device, and automatically uploads them to YouTube and Picasso via an Android or iPhone (coming) app.


Huddle is a group text chat feature and should also have strong business application as a way for a group of folks trying to come together on something to all get on the same page (or is it steam?)

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Bob Fortner

    I’m wondering if Google+ could become a social CRM tool?  A way for business people to nurture relationships with clients.  Facebook doesn’t really work well for this because of the share with everyone or no one aspect.  Circles may just be what people need to feel comfortable with more social relationships between businesses and clients.

    • ducttape

      Great thought Bob – I really see some folks moving their entire business networking here if they can get their clients to do so as a way to separate business and personal.

  • MaAnna

    Thanks for the highlights. I’m wondering if this will be more of an alternative to LinkedIn than Facebook. Sounds like a good B2B platform. Most of my clients come from referrals, including business owners in related fields. I’d enjoy ways to nurture those ties.

    • ducttape

      It will all come down to adoption, but at first glance I think the tools here make this a very attractive option for nurturing – not sure it kills LinkedIn as a business tool because of the way people find business leads on LinkedIn

  • Dan Gershenson

    I agree that the technology looks very good, John, but I have the same struggle visualizing how this will be a Home Run for Google on the business side as it would be on the personal side for one simple reason: The relationships are already well entrenched on an existing site (Facebook for personal, LinkedIn for business) and converting a good portion of these communities to move is going to be tricky. It would be fine if the goal with Plus was to be a nice companion to other tools and bring some nice functionality to businesses, but I assume that Google’s aim with Plus isn’t to be just a minor tool but a major part of a person’s daily life. The buildup strikes me that this has to be way bigger than GoogleDocs, Google Reader, Google Calendar or just another nice piece of the Google family but instead a game changer in order to be labeled a success. Particularly after the great buildup and ensuing stumble of Google Wave. Can Plus achieve that level? I’m just a little skeptical because I think it’s going to need more than some Early Adopters to try it in order to be labeled that kind of success. For what it’s worth, I’ll be glad to try it to give it a fair shake.

    • ducttape

      Adoption is certainly going to be an issue, but I see some of the tools being so useful that people bring their clients and staff over just to use the tools. That will have a big impact on the social aspects of search too.

      I guess I see some business owners wanting a clean break from Facebook for true networking with a tight group leading the charge, but I do also think the group video chat should be a big hit for personal use.

  • Greg Madhere

    I think the two companies have similar goals, but attacked them from different angles. Facebook waited to figure out their revenue stream and tacked on ads later on. Google has been making real money for a decade now and is tying in the social component. With legions of Android users and really deep pockets, if they could get the people bored with Facebook on board, this could be scary good. Business understands Google, but still trying to figure out Facebook. People expect to see ads on Google, but get annoyed with them on FB. Search on FB is lacking even with the MS investment…

    I am anxiously waiting for an invite!!!

    • ducttape

      I think that’s right – FB is about social and still trying to figure out how to make money and Google trying to figure out how to hold onto the money and make search about social.

      • Ben Smith

        Eric Schmidt said at D9 the big reason they are interested in identity (the big benefit of social networks in his view); was that it is an additional signal to make search better.  So, their business model may be dramatically different from facebook.

        • ducttape

          I agree – I think the real motivation though may be that if they don’t move to add the social network, they will lose their ability to add this to their search product

  • Travis Campbell

    Nice breakdown here John. Due to Google’s track record with social, many are subdued in their initial impressions. Who can argue with flashy, feel-good marketing videos about the product?

    Here’s hoping they have a successful rollout.

    You have access to the beta?


    • ducttape

      Hey Travis – I think people will start using some of these tools and then it will come down to adoption – actually no, I don’t have an invite yet

  • Guest

    FaceBook has it’s roots throughout the internet, due to the rise in popularity of FaceBook everyday it’s obvious that Google will be concerned about how to take control of that.

    • ducttape

      Again, I think there’s simply interested in controlling their revenue and not FB

      • Guest

        Perhaps you’re right about that.

      • Debra

        I agree, I think this is Google primary motivator

  • Steven Fowler

    There are three aspect to being social. Public Personal (FB) and Public Professional (LinkedIn), and Corporate Professional (Jive, SharePoint, IBM). All have a jump on Google. Also keep in mind that Google failed with Wave which is the old Google+. There is not much buzz about Google Buzz and we’ll see if the new Google+1 Button goes anywhere. Google is great at Search, good with adwords, and ok in email – that’s been my experience.

    • ducttape

      I don’t see much correlation with Wave here, but again, my main point is that Google+ has some nice business applications

  • Adrift in the Sea

    Just got an invite to Google+ and it’s awesome! The picture viewer is so much better than Facebook’s. I have a personal account on Google+, but I can’t wait to get my business on there once that feature becomes available.

  • Wormstir

    Hi there, can you tell me if this seems correct – I’m thinking that if i understand it, google+ could be a great way for staff from my business’ branches to stay in contact in real time, so instead of emailing each other back and forth, we could use G+ as an intranet – there could be one circle for the business as a whole, and lots of little circles for each individual branch and they all could keep G+ running all day. Does this sound right to you? And the next question would be – do you think G+ would allow people to send file attachments along with messages? And would all the conversations be archived somewhere???

    • Denton Solutions

      To me it really sounds like you’re describing functionality already present in GChat and Google Docs (or perhaps even

      • Wormstir

        but the thing is I want the chats to be public (within a group) so people within a  building can all see the same thing (or not, depending on the group) google chat doesn’t allow for that and is quite unfriendly. and yes I already use docs, but people have to log ina go and get something – im hoping that google+ means that each person can stay on one page and get a constant feed of updates and attachements