Google + lives on in Hangouts and Photos

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

End of Google+ As We Know It: Google Prepares to Kill A Struggling Social Network.

But let’s not bury it yet–some very cool and useful tools came out of the Google + experiment, which still live on, and which we’ll discuss in just a moment. It might be the end of Google+ as we know it, but even Google admitted it was about time to stop forcing Google+ on people who wanted to use the company’s other digital services and products.On Monday, Google admitted the defeat of one of the original ambitions for its 4-year-old Google+ social network when it announced a big “pivot” on Monday. This week, Google sort of threw in the towel to taking on Facebook with yet another place for folks to update each other on their lives, by making a major change in how we interact with Google.

Google, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are all set to roll out facilities for users to purchase products from their websites in the next 12-18 months. On Monday, the search giant announced that the struggling social media platform will soon make a significant policy change, which made marketers wonder if this development is another way of saying that Google+ is on its death bed. Instagram hasn’t taken the same direction – they’ve integrated a “buy now” button, but this is just an ad that leads to the retailer’s website, different from the commerce approach Google and Facebook are testing.

Since last two months, Google has been chopping up Plus’ various features to make them a separate service and now it has been compelled to take the worst step. When agency executives were asked to weigh in on the matter, instead of the expected eulogies, they offered some nuanced answers about the fate of the social network. Over the past several years, social sharing and networking have become ever more infused in mobile and web products, making it increasingly important that Google adapt its business, say many analysts and industry insiders. “With desktop web, people discovered content through search. Previously, many tasks within Google products (such as, say, commenting on a YouTube video) required a Google Plus profile, but that won’t be the case moving forward. “People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier,” Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of photos and sharing, wrote in a company blog. Matt Rednor, the CEO of Decoded Advertising, predicted that plenty of the pieces that made up Google+ will spin off and make a comeback in the future.

Now they discover content through social,” Brett Northart, former analyst who founded ecommerce company Le Tote, tells Business Insider. “[Google] was in the dominant position when the world was desktop oriented, but now they’re getting disintermediated by Facebook and losing market share to a much larger global audience.” Google’s growth has slowed as people use mobile more than desktop. More importantly, you can use Hangouts to make free phone calls, either via your computer or on your phone, via the Hangout app for Apple and Android devices.

In less than two years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google will all be acting as middlemen between their users and your products – recommending products, taking orders, processing payments and sending orders directly to your warehouses. This is common sense to most people, but not at Google, which spent years insisting that its Google+ ghost town was really a thriving metropolis, in large part because people who used other Google services were using Google+ to sign onto those services. Google has also announced to add a new feature to Plus ‘Google Plus Collections’ which allows users to share which lets users share and read posts sorted by existing topics like sneakers, gluten free recipes and Ireland or all new user generated topics. Google still reels in much more revenue than Facebook on mobile advertising overall, but according to Morgan Stanley research, Facebook is on track to start winning more new ad dollars than Google. Originally, Google put a lot of effort into making photos beautiful on G+, hoping that the better display, tools like unlimited backup and superior editing features would wean folks away from Facebook, the no. 1 place for photo sharing online.

The first step is to identify the networks your customers use – you can get this information from a simple survey – and (if you can) overlay it with sales data to find which networks your most profitable customers use. Users will also no longer need a Google+ account to comment on YouTube, long a point of contention among users, who felt as if they were being roped into a social network they did not ask for. “While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink,” Bradley Horowitz, who oversees Google+, wrote about the moves.

And new research from eMarketer predicts that Facebook-owned Instagram will surpass Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile display ad net revenues by 2017. Google Photos makes an automatic backup of every photo you shoot on your smartphone–and lets you connect a hard drive to the app as well, to make copies of photos taken on your camera. Pinterest and Facebook require that you have OpenGraph markup installed on your website (this is where they retrieve product information) and Twitter has its own tagging system.

Google’s decision to dismantle Google+ might have less to do with appeasing users’ anger than with meeting the demand of mobile-phone owners, who expect apps for individual services. The network has a small, dedicated group of hardcore users — we’ve seen research that pegs the number of public, active users between 4 and 6 million, out of more than 2.2 billion profiles total. Above all, you will need to register with the networks, accept their terms and charges and maintain a clean record of efficient shipping and a good level of customer service to their users. The blog announcement included a statement where Google admitted that it made no sense for Google+ to be your supervising identity covering all your other Google products. By employing a social commerce strategy, businesses will be able to cut the time they spend learning about their customers and the money they spend to get in front of their target consumers.

While he praised the company’s commitment to advancing the digital realm, Ryan Fey, co-founder and senior marketing officer at Omelet, was very frank regarding Google’s mistakes with Google+. And now that the company isn’t forcing new people to sign up and has unbundled some of its most popular features, like Photos and Hangouts, it’s tough to see how Google+ will expand its audience.

Google+ was never the platform to attract users in flocks, which is why it is a smart decision to stop shoving it down the throat of Google’s users. I use a social media tool called Sprout Social and you can click a little box to post an update to multiple services including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. In some cases, new buyers don’t even need to see formal feedback; a simple “Like” may be more than enough to tip the scales in favour of a purchase. Unfortunately, there is no ‘best’ social network to target – all consumer groups use different websites for different purposes – there’s no point in rolling out campaigns on Facebook if none of your customers are there.

Early Twitter investor Chris Sacca said that Google never understood social and that it would be an “instant fit.” Google would finally have a social product, get a new ad-stream, and have access to a different kind of real-time search relevancy. With Google making this major change to Plus that focuses more on its core users rather than growth and uniting identities, that debate could gain some steam once again. “With Twitter’s earnings just around the corner and questions regarding leadership there I wouldn’t be surprised to see more speculation regarding a tie-up between the two,” Moser says. In all of the time I was using the network, and this is from shortly after the launch until yesterday, I’ve never really made a new connection with anyone or found any useful information. Here are a few insights to help you get started: The burgeoning Google Shopping platform (currently only available in the US) provides a fast search interface, a trusted name and familiarity that draws people in. As the search engine inevitably integrates “Buy now” buttons into its regular search result pages, it will be worth joining this programme so users can make purchases without ever having to leave their search results.

Participation in Google Shopping is relatively straightforward – products are submitted to Google Merchant Center and the Adwords platform automatically brings up those products during searches (businesses pay per click) that match the product. According to usage research from comScore and Nielsen, Pinterest users already employ the content-sharing site to keep track of the products they fancy and plan shopping trips. The network’s drive to integrate “Buy now” functionality into its existing platform means that it will soon become even easier for businesses to capitalise the sharing of image-based content. We are feeding a hungry giant by looking at ads in Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and countless other services that are useful and practical. (For the record, people complained last time I dissed Google+ that I wasn’t using it correctly, but I’ve used it “correctly” since launch and it never did work for me.) Google+ isn’t just too technical and confusing.

Because Pinterest is so visually-oriented, it’s also the perfect place for your flashiest product photos, lifestyle shots and centrepieces; this is a network where you can effectively communicate your brand. It’s possible there’s a weird dichotomy between “real work” you do by checking email and writing up business plans and then trying to socialize with other people and look at cat photos. This platform will be perfect for products that rely on recommendations, capturing impulse or low-cost purchases (such as books, music, or movies) and making shopping easier for your customers.

Facebook’s massive potential revolves largely around its ability to track individual users throughout the internet through their “likes” and glean meaningful information from their actions. Rest assured that each network will allocate huge budgets to conversion optimisation – they are experts at keeping users consuming content on their website, they just need to make the jump to pushing users to consume your products. Once social commerce becomes a habit for customers, retailers will benefit from impulse purchasing and fewer objections – networks will invariably store billing and delivery details to create a single-click purchase journey. Experience with Google’s product listing ads and Facebook’s promoted posts has shown that early adopters stand to profit the most – get in while competition is small and pricing is low.

Retailers will always need a website that is well optimised for search engines, but this new breed of marketplace presents a viable alternative to sales driven from traditional organic traffic.

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