The New Era of Google+

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By Vlad Vidaeff

The history of Google+ has been an interesting one.  The social media platform’s importance as a benefit to your SEO is unquestioned.  However, Google+’s aspirations to be a direct competitor to Facebook have been a mixed bag.  This blog will explore Google+’s history and the recent changes made to the platform.

The initial vision surrounding the rise of Google+ was that the outlet was to serve as a jack-of-all-trades: an identity platform, a news discovery site, a photo and video platform, a hotel and restaurant guide, and a mother of all messaging and video chat platforms.  Unfortunately for Google+, Facebook has largely realized this vision over the past five years.  The crux of the issue for Google+ is that users simply will not accept the forcing of many products into one.  With that being said, Google should be applauded for realizing the ineffectiveness of its initial strategy and revitalizing its platform by giving the people what they want.

While Circles were the initial highlight of the old Google+, they have been deemphasized in Google+’s reformation.  Google has decided to focus on the four aspects of Google+ which have been most successful.  First, Google+’s cloud-based photo management and editing tools, while a big hit, have been packaged off on their own as Google Photos.  Next, Google Hangouts were another popular feature that is now offered as a separate offering.  The final two, Communities and Collections have become the new focus of Google+.

Google+ Communities offer people with specific passions the opportunity to connect with others with like-minded interest.  Whether your passion is astrophotography or British dragonflies, you have a home on Google+.  Communities serve as an alternative to Reddit, with the added bonus of a user-friendlier interface that facilitates discussions.  Google+ Collections are visually attractive like Pinterest.  While Pinterest caters to shopping and products, Collections are havens for DIY and how-to content.  Moreover, in an interesting demographic breakdown, more than 70% of Pinterest users are female while Google+ skews male.

Google+ Communities average 1.2 million new adds a day while Collections are growing even faster.  By focusing on interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.  Google has also made an effort to improve the platform’s appearance on mobile through the use of responsive design.  Simply put, Google+ is now simpler and more mobile-friendly.  It takes a certain level of modesty to let go of a grander vision and focus on a smaller, yet important, role.  Google+ now provides a user-friendly and visually appealing site where superfans and enthusiasts can connect.  By unbundling and optimizing the user experience, the future of Google+ looks promising.


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