If Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr were to have a secret love child, what would it look like? These days, it looks a lot like Google’s new social network Google+. In the nearly three weeks since the social network launched in beta, it has become the mainstay of tech conversations and has acquired more than 10 million users. As a testament to it’s adoption and engagement rate, the network is already birthing several interesting trends -
- Hangouts or Google+’s video tool as a customer service and customer engagement channel for business. Michael Dell, Founder and CEO of Dell Inc. is using this to great effect to engage with both prospects (i.e. sales) and customers (i.e. customer service) on what is essentially a free tool.
- A viable alternative to short form blogging. As a blog platform, Google+ offers an experience that seems more meaningful and less transient than Twitter but keeps Twitter’s conversational tone. It also makes it remarkably easy to share content, much like reblogging on Tumblr. That said, the proof is in the pudding and Kevin Rose, Co-founder of Digg and a prominent investor is testing this by posting directly on his Google+ account and redirecting his blog to Google+. Of course, this won’t work for bloggers on advertising networks for now.
- An audience engagement platform thanks to +1 buttons, comments and sharing. For the most part it is the early adopters and the tech community that are driving engagement for tech celebrities such as Robert Scoble while the rest of the world sits back to watch and learn. Ashton Kutcher, well known for his savvy tech investments, is another early adopter who has been able to mobilize his followers on Google+. Now that Twitter has lowered the adoption barrier, one suspects other celebrities will follow as the user base on Google+ continues to grow.
- A traffic driver for Publishers and customer acquisition tool for business at large. Facebook and Twitter have been game changers for publishers, not least because of their ability to consistently drive large volumes of users to a website. Google+ shows similar promise although it remains to be seen if it will instead fragment website traffic even more by keeping users on Google+ instead of funneling them on to business websites. A lot will depend on how Google sets up the business accounts launching later this year. That said, publishers like Mashable News are already testing the waters, and seemingly quite well too if one goes by the number of comments and shares on each post.
- Crowdsourcing suggestions to improve the network. One way to continue to improve a product in beta is to invite feedback from users and Google+ is getting feedback in spades. Now all Google has to do is innovate as fast as the feedback is coming in.
Have you been using Google+ and what changes would you like to see?