I read an article this morning about Google+ and how despite the best efforts of Google, Google+ will never be able to compete with Facebook. The article was posted on network world and titled Why Google+ can never compete with Facebook. Its articles that I see all over the internet these days. These people have no idea what they are talking about. They are not wrong, however they are not right either. The problem is they have the wrong belief and therefore they are drawing the wrong conclusion. The truth is, Google+ is not competing with Facebook. Its a VAST misconception to think it is. People keep criticizing the Google+ social network because they don't understand
why it exists. They think its just an expansion of the Google advertising network and therefore Google doesn’t get how to be social. Once again they are not wrong, but they are not right either.
The experts, as usual, don’t have a clue what they are talking about. So let me help you out and explain whats really going on in the world of Google.
How Google got its start
Google started out with one goal in mind, to create a better search engine. They absolutely achieved that. Try as other companies may, no one has been able to touch the Google search engine. Google succeeded in becoming the number one search engine. In the process they grew into an advertising network. What better a way to make money that turning your search engine into an advertising network? As the advertising network grew, so did Google.
They still had the same ultimate goal at that point, to create the best search engine for the user. However soon after that goal changed. Google went on the stock market. No longer did they answer to an owner of a company, but a board of directors whose goal is to make money.
Now anyone who understand the stock market and any industry, understand that you don’t change the goals that made a company successful. Those same goals are as true today as they were when Google started. However the methodology changed. No longer did they want the best search engine for the end user, now they wanted the best search engine to increase there advertising network.
Google for small business
To do this, they stopped trying to make the best search engine for the end user, and tried to make the best search engine for the small business owner. Now of coarse the ultimate goal was about money, but this is how they achieve their ultimate goal, by being the number one search engine for small business owners. As I said the ultimate goal is the advertising network, but they are trying to achieve that by being the number one search engine for small business owners.
They achieved being the number one search engine for small businesses, and in the process became the number one advertising network at the same time. They had maintained being the best advertising network until Facebook grew to the size it has. Facebook has become a serious threat to Google maintaining being the number one social network.
Facebook for SEO
What happened is small business owners learned rather than trying to figure out the tricks of search engine optimization to build free internet traffic, they could turn to a more personalized method of marketing. So they started joining the Facebook social network so they could interact with other business owners, potential customers, current customers, and build a successful business. It worked. Not only did it work it became the trend.
Soon after this method of marketing worked for small businesses, every business and industry started doing it. This is what caused Facebook’s massive growth and why Facebook has grown to be a advertising network that competes with the Google advertising network.
Google the social search
So now Google has to deal with this new threat. People think the answer Google has come up with is to create a competing social network – that social network being Google+. This is the wrong conclusion. Google is not using Google+ to try to compete with Facebook. Google is trying to do the same thing that made Google successful, create the best search engine for the small business owner. However to do this, now they needed to create a social search engine.
THIS is why the Google+ network was created, to make the google search engine a social search engine.
Google introduced features that facebook can’t dream of. Google added a +1 button to every single search result. Those users who do use it help rank search engines while at the same time personalizing their own search experience. Not only did Google add a +1 button to ever search result, they made it so if you have a google+ page, you can see in the listings who +1’d your page.
They added tools to monitor your social effects of your website to the google webmaster tools section of their website that works in absolute real time because the social network itself is owned by Google. Facebook and twitter have tried to team up with Microsoft Bing, but because Google’s search market share is seemingly untouchable, that has had little real impact on the company.
See the Google search because of Google+ has become social.
Google also created what is called Google hangouts. This is quickly becoming a hit by all sorts of professionals. Google hangouts allow you to hold a group video chat. This can be used by companies to hold open communications with customers, a place where business can get feedback from people in realtime, and its also quickly changing media companies. Radio stations are using it to hold realtime chat while on air. Online broadcasters are using it for the same reason. Recently President Obama used it to hold a hangout, as did republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Ultimately what is going to happen, is companies are going to see more and more social features in the search engines and start asking why they need facebook anymore, all the marketing tools for both search and social are in one place. They can interact with the users and drive results right from the google search engine.
No its not yet at this stage, right now its a social network with a few social features added to the search engine and webmaster tools, but as google perfects the merging of all their sites, its going to be one giant advertising network, that Facebook won’t be able to touch.
The Google+ Network
Whats even better is Google has been setting up for this quietly for YEARS. They have tried it and failed a few times in the past, but this time is different. Now all the pieces and moves are in the right place. They own the number one user operating system for smart phones. This means they can seamlessly integrate their social networks on hundreds of millions of people’s phones with simple updates and they can sell new phones that already have circles installed. We have already begun to see this happen, cell phone commercials have begun to promote “circles of friends” as a feature.
This is all only the beginning. Google not only owns the number one search engine, but also the number one video search engine which happens to be the number 3 most visited website online, that of YouTube. Google has the pieces in place to tie in the Google+ into cell phones, the search engine, and your YouTube video’s, the YouTube search, Google documents, Gmail, and so many other services.
Its going to come to a point where if you use something owned by Google, you are going to see the google+ interaction.
When that happens, the reasons to stay on facebook are going to become less and less. Being social is not about innovations as many seem to believe, its about…. being social. People joined facebook because their friends were there. Innovating the social networking experience is not what is going to bring people away from facebook, its by making it easier for people to be social.
Google is doing this by integrating social networking with all the most popular of sites on the internet. They are bringing social features to sites in ways that have never been able to be done. Its not the innovative things they are bringing to social networks, but the integration of being social everywhere with one site. Facebook can only integrate through partnerships, google owns almost every tool people use outside of facebook.
Short term it may seem that Google+ can’t compete with facebook, but Google+ won’t be what takes down Facebook, its the google network that will.