Google+ Offers Great Business Potential

Google+ Offers Great Business Potential

By John Jantsch

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+

Circles

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.

Hangouts

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.

Sparks

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

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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