Google is doing it again, introducing a revolutionary new product to the world and raising a lot of eyebrows in the process. Google+ is targeted at directly taking on Facebook as a social alternative in the market.
When it was initially launched this week, it was open to the general public to join. However, after the overwhelming demand, Google had to retract it to a limited trial for a few people with invitation perks. Even so, the numbers of joiners were so high that invitation perks were recently taken away from the trial users.
It seems the overall feedback has been positive so far. Will it be enough to move consumers currently on Facebook over to Google+? Will people have accounts on both?
What we have yet to see is how brands will be able to interact with their consumers on Google+, which is something that Facebook has clearly taken a stake in in order to drive their core business model. This opportunity could be really interesting based on Google’s current infrastructure and investment in driving brand to consumer engagement. One of the features of Google+ is the ability to ‘categorize’ your ‘friends’, so we’re thinking that perhaps brands will be able to be on their own category and group their consumers accordingly? Only time will tell.
Regardless, it’s good to see competitive alternatives being offered in the market. Brands should continue to focus on developing their profile and their reach on Facebook among other social networks, as there is still much untapped potential. We shouldn’t forget that Facebook is still growing, recently experiencing high growth within the 55-65 year-old demographic market, a group that is cash rich and also the largest consumer group.
On a final note, after watching the Google+ videos on www.google.com/+/learnmore/ I have to admit that I am excited about the Huddle function. The ability to group chat on my phone will make life and decision-making so much easier.
Watch this space for more updates on how brands can work with Google+. Let the games begin!