This week was just what the doctor ordered for Google. Lately, the social networks and Bing have owned the airwaves and net. Bings recent integration with Facebook made for a robust social search display, and even Myspace has taken a headline in its everything-must-go liquidation. So what gives with the massive Google rollout? Is Google really going after Facebook? Or even Bing? Is it market share?
My guess? All of the above.
The reality is, the world that Google has educated in the last decade has turned over on them. In this mobile and social domain, discount and discovery people are searching for more. One out of three mobile searches are now location-curious. More post and tweets happen from mobile than not. In a way, it is ironic that Google came in the late 90as to change the world by connecting its searchers with the answers of the world. Now, more than a decade later, the searchers are wanting to take that capability with them in their pockets and into their social circle.
In the past couple years, Google has dipped its toe in the social water with “Wave” and “Buzz,” but quickly was pulled into the spin cycle. Even their major success, Youtube, isn’t “theirs.” They have kept that success out of Google central. On May 28th, they made an announcement that I believe was initiating the start of the new goog. What we have grown to internally call the Googstapo, might be headed for a rebirth. Reclaiming what they created.
So lets take a look.
Google’s webmaster blog announced the + 1 button. “We all know what it’s like to get a bit of help when you are looking for it.” This line commenced the post that explained Google’s Social Search enhancements: that they can make search more personally relevant.
“We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users search results are personally relevant to them. As a result, +1s could increase both the quality and the quantity of traffic to the sites people care about.”
They went on to share that they are working on a button for the webpages as well, closing with, “We’re excited about using +1s to make search more personal, relevant, and compelling.”
Admittedly, I didn’t take the +1 very seriously. I read plenty of other search experts’ opinions, all calling it a miss. And with the minimal exposure to use, it seemed that way.
Late last week, word began to float around the internet, along with screenshots of a new Google interface. On 1:30 pm, Google posted a blog to that effect. They boiled down the changes to meet the following core concepts:
Focus – keeping their services centered on the search, map, or email.
Elasticity – seamless transition from devices.
Effortlessness – power meets simplicity.
Since then the design has crept into Gmail and other key Google Apps. The post goes on to describe the “seamless” and “consistent” experience. Brands need cohesiveness, not surprise.
Also on the 28th Google shared a post that highlighted what I believe Google hopes to be the Facebook haymaker. Google+ utilizes circles, sparks, hangouts, and huddle, all of which are wrapped in a nice instant upload bow for mobile.
* Circles: http://youtu.be/BeMZP-oyOII
* Sparks: http://youtu.be/MRkAdTflltc
* Hangouts: http://youtu.be/Tku1vJeuzH4
* Instant upload: http://youtu.be/6y_xKVSRAy8
* Huddle: http://youtu.be/iA22daAstNg
So how is this different from the aforementioned Wave and Buzz? I think in part this is because Google believes it has to be successful. Successful for both market share and the stock holders. I also think that + project isn’t truly about competing. Instead, their attempt provides easy-to-use products that take consumers to a place they want to go: central social and search solutions.
Additionally, it’s my belief that Google has finally dedicated real estate to a conversation and streaming thought- something I donat think they accomplished with Buzz. To me, that might be the most successful component to all of this. They finally have given a central hub to networks’ conversations. It is a meeting ground for the written word.
So what is next? Integration and adoption.
Google will integrate into everything they do and offer, which I believe ties back to both +1 and the new design. Essentially this creates a fresh experience for the new version of this brand we trust and use, and now we can use it in a different way (allegedly).
Read here, how we are starting to work with our clients to take advantage.