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Volume XII, Number 148

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Google+ Is (Walking) Dead? Or Simply Changing?

In response to the grievous reports of Google+’s death last week, a famous misquote from Mark Twain comes to mind: “It appears the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

In late April, a bold headline was turning heads: Google+ Is Walking Dead. The article made some pretty strong claims regarding Google’s struggling social network in response to Vic Gundotra’s announcement that he would be leaving the company. Mr. Gundotra was Google’s Vice President of Social and head of Google+.

This left online marketers with several questions: What will become of authorship? How will this affect Google search? Will this change Google+’s YouTube integration? What about the time and money we have put in to growing our Circles, engaging in Community discussions and posting content?

Once you delve a little deeper and look past the pessimistic headlines, things are not as grim as they appear. Apparently, Google+ is not dead (not even “walking dead”). However, there may be changes on the horizon—which should be nothing new for veteran Google+ users and online marketers.

How Does Google+ Fit In to the Google Brand?

Google+ has never truly competed with Facebook or Twitter. But look at it from a different angle. Google’s social network provided a way to tie together Google’s disparate services while establishing a clear identity of each user. This helps Google provide better search results and sell better targeted ads by better tracking and consolidating user data.

“Google+ is really two things: an identity layer that tracks and connects all of Google’s products and a social sharing app,” says JR Oakes, the Director of Search Marketing at Consultwebs. “I think we will see a movement towards individual teams (Android, Maps, Gmail) just leveraging the identity layer to add value to the products from the standpoint of what makes the product better instead of what makes G+ better.”

The Facts

Many Google employees have taken to Google+ to address these rumors and provide facts.

Yonatan Zunger, Google+ Chief Architect, denied the death of Google+, saying that “this entire TechCrunch article is bollocks.” He also confirmed that Dave Desbris will be the new head of Google+, which suggests the company currently has no plans for dismantling the social network.

In response to a Google+ post, Chris Lang asked Moritz Tolxdorff, Google’s Consumer Operations and Community Manager, to confirm if anyone on the Google+ team had been moved to Android. Tolxdorff responded, “No one is moving anywhere. Everything will stay as it is.”

In light of these public responses, marketers can breathe a sigh of relief—at least for the moment.

Responding to Possible Changes

Even though powerful voices of Google have spoken on this issue, online marketers know that anything can change in the blink of an eye. With a new head of Google+ on the way, we can likely expect to see some changes, even if minor.

Let’s take a look at a timeline of major changes and gradual integration that has occurred through the years:

Google+ is heavily integrated into several of Google’s most popular products: Local, YouTube, Gmail and last but definitely not least, search. The slightest change could create a ripple that affects all of these. I think that is what scared marketers the most.

google plusThe best way to respond to situations like this is logically and in the best interest of your business and clients. This is not the first time rumors have panicked the online marketing world. Does anyone remember when the buzz was that Facebook would soon be a paid service? This eventually led to the company’s slogan, “It’s free and always will be.”

It is crucial to respond quickly to changes, but only changes that are validated. Responding too quickly to false claims can result in missed opportunities and wasted time and money. It is best to relax, keep your eyes open for confirmed changes and respond accordingly.

Online marketing best practices are going to change. That is something we have to accept. What makes our jobs challenging (and interesting!) is keeping up with these changes, adapting new best practices and staying ahead of the curve. Whether it is a Google algorithm update, changes to Social Media sites or a change in popular tech devices, we must be vigilant and respond accordingly.

© 1999 – 2022 Consultwebs.com, Inc.National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 122
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About this Author

Kenneth Harris, social media, communications, technology, marketing, law, HR
Social Media Editor

As a Social Media Editor for Consultwebs.com, Kenneth Harris works on clients’ social media profiles, performs maintenance and provides weekly updates. He also writes articles that detail various aspects that are relevant to particular client practice areas.

“Consultwebs is better than the rest because we approach law firm web marketing as a team, both within our individual departments and as a whole,” Kenneth says. “This is vital because each member of the CW Team adds something unique to what we do.  No puzzle would be complete without even the smallest piece.”

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