November 4, 2014

If Google+ is Dead, then Myspace is Alive

By Lauren C.

The trending topic around techy tables is whether or not certain social media platforms are dead. With a swiftly evolving technological landscape, social platforms that were hot a few years ago, like Myspace, can become obsolete within minutes. Google+ is a social platform which remains alive and seemingly unimportant to most people. After Google’s Vic Gundotra announced he would be leaving the company earlier this year, popular tech sites like TechCrunch immediately insisted that this was the beginning of the end of Google +. However Google+ is not going away anytime soon, and is in fact more powerful and omnipotent than the typical social media user realizes.

Gundotra’s departure from Google was worrisome for Google+ users, since he was the creator of the social platform. Google representatives defended his decision to leave, claiming, “Today’s news has no impact on our Google+ strategy- we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.” Quick to attack Google on their apparent defensiveness, the majority of techies argued that Google+ is a drab, boring, and less engaging site than Facebook or Twitter, and has no chance of long term success. We are here to argue that although these critics may have a point on Google+’s lack of fun factor, they are wrong about its death. Google+ is not dead, and it is in fact being reborn.

Here’s Three Reasons Why Google+ Isn’t Going Anywhere

1. Nobody can switch Google+ on and off. It’s built into the infrastructure of the majority of Google’s online products. In other words, in order to use YouTube, or websites and apps, users have to have a Google+ account.  The Google+ login allows Google to collect more user data and tailor online experiences accordingly. Depending on what the user is searching for, Google will change the search results based on their Google+ activity. Some might argue that this level of control results in Google bullying us a little bit, but it’s simply the name of the game. The largest search engine is Google, and they are going to encourage users to utilize their products-and platforms.

2. Google+ might lose at branding, but the platform itself has been very successful.  If users compare Google+ to platforms like Facebook, Google+ is a loser hands down. Some argue that it’s not meant to be a social media hangout (although Google did add the Hangouts feature to Google+) as much as it is a platform to access other features. From a statistical standpoint, Google+ is far from losing the battle. According to Adweek, Google+ is just as popular as Twitter in the U.S. and has more visitors than Instagram.  They also found that Google+ fans engage more with brand posts than they do on Twitter. So it might not look as cool as Facebook, but it certainly isn’t failing among users.

3. Google+ is excellent for SEO and for businesses. According to Moz, a URL’s number of Google+1s is highly correlated with search rankings compared to other factors. This correlation beats other metrics including Facebook shares and keyword usage. Also, new applications like Google My Business works with Google+ to affect mobile device business searches when using Google apps. With 90 million users, businesses can’t ignore the growing evidence that Google+ is absolutely necessary to their marketing strategies.

Despite what TechCrunch says, Google+ isn’t going anywhere. The largest complaint about Google+ is that users feel forced into joining in order to utilize other aspects of the web. But Google is notorious for giving back, and works hard in tailoring search results and increasing rankings if users remain Google+ members. The largest search engine in the world isn’t going to kill off its own creation, so the rest of us need to stop thinking Google+ is on Myspaces’ path to social media heaven. It isn’t.

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