Should We Use Google Plus Today?

Many businesses are probably asking this question about now. We recommend keeping it on the radar, but if you haven’t invested time or dollars establishing a Google+ presence yet, you might want to wait a little bit.

What To Consider

  1. Vic Gundotra, the Google executive sponsor behind G+ has left Google. Perhaps more than anyone, he was responsible for such things as #nymwars (the real name policy fiasco), YouTube forced comment profile integration with G+, and other user irking product decisions. He was very much the public face of Google+.
  2. An org reshuffle that finds the G+ team being shifted around. The Hangouts team apparently is moving to the Android team – perhaps with Photos following.
  3. Google+ has a new head in VP of Engineering David Besbris. Interesting that this nod went to Engineering and not to Bradley Horowitz, VP Product, who was often seen as the second public face of G+. Perhaps a strategy refocus, org size and the following item #4 is a factor.
  4. Google+ is moving from the realm of product to platform. It’s conceding the social race lead to Facebook and Twitter while likely being under consideration for some form of “sunsetting” or reduced priority. The shuffling of assets around might not be a good sign for the longevity of G+ going forward though. Time will tell.
  5. It’s being reported that there will be less forced G+ integration. Depending on the reality of what this means, it could be a good thing for users of Google products period. Very few praised the heavy handed tactics that Google+ used to force itself on other Google products. So, we’ll see.

Adjusting Social Media Budgets

I recommend continued investment in Twitter and Facebook (itself a separate topic of readjustment due to reduced reach) and a slight refocus on Google+ until the waters clear up somewhat. I’m sure that Google will be providing some clarity in coming days.

For now, it’s probably best to keep G+ on the radar for possible future social media budget commitments. Just hold off on plunking down new dollars though.

If you’re already playing in the G+ world though, continue to maintain those conversations and relationships to support brand reach and awareness – just be aware that the roadmap may be changing soon.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the user experience often dictates what direction a product or platform should head in. I think Google perhaps is seeing some of the negative consequences that Google+ has had on its brand. No doubt, some tough decisions are under consideration. Let’s hope that user experience is a major factor in those decisions.

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