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Jun 26, 2012 (5 years and 4 months ago)

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Googl e+
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Googl e+: The scoop on the new ki d on the bl ock
and what i t means for busi ness
Circles, hangouts, sparks and huddles—no, these aren’t terms for sports, video
games or art. They’re actually different features within the Web’s newest social
network: Google+
®
. Following in the footsteps of Facebook
®
, Twitter
®
, Linkedin™,
Foursquare
®
and others, Google
®
launched its newest platform
and social network to individuals this past summer to great
fanfare and recently opened up shop for businesses to play
along, too.
Social media experts and marketing professionals alike were
quick to recognize the platform’s ability to not only challenge
other popular social networking sites, but for its potential
business opportunities for those seeking more meaningful online
interactions with their customers. Media attention in the days
before and after the initial launch focused on the networks wide
breadth of capabilities, potential integration with the wide range of Google-
owned programs—such as search functions, AdWords
®
campaigns and Places
®
, to
name a few—along with its increased privacy functionality in comparison to that
of its rivals.
Some experts have estimated that Google+ has been gaining users at up to
1 million per day
1
. If that’s true, such numbers would outpace the Internet
juggernaut Facebook in its prime, and make Google+ the fastest-growing website
in Internet history.
Of course, because it’s still technically in its infancy, the full impact of Google+ for
business, known as Google Pages, is still unfolding. For marketers, the concept
is intriguing; rather than being a social network within the World Wide Web,
Google+ strives to place the Web within the social network. The concept may
seem foreign and hard to understand initially, but for brands and businesses, it
means potential implications for search engine optimization, real-time customer
relations, and a greater wealth of information about target markets. In short,
Google+ has the potential to offer a goldmine of data for businesses that was,
until now, largely unavailable.
In this Blue Paper
®
, we turn to the experts to learn just exactly what Google+ is all
about, how to get started on the new network and better
1 Paul, Ian. “20 Million Google Users May Exist by the Weekend.” PCWorld. 12 July 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
<http://www.pcworld.com/article/235468/20_million_google_users_may_exist_by_the_weekend.html>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
understand what this platform might mean for businesses, organizations and
marketers everywhere.
The Vi si on

Imagine all of your favorite web-based platforms and their capabilities:
• Audio and videoconferencing capability—at no charge.
• A social network which offers intuitive suggestions, allowing users
to forge connections with family, friends and business associates.
The ability to share with each of them.
• A professional networking utility.
• A photo upload and storage platform which offers
convenient photo-sharing capability and increased
upload convenience.
• A mapping program, with an ability to tell you
how to get where you want to go, even suggest
restaurants and businesses to consider.
• A comprehensive search engine, with its uncanny
ability to help you find exactly what you’re
looking for – whether it’s an exotic dried spice
from a foreign country, or flowers from a shop
down the street.
Now, imagine these attributes not only rolled into one product or social
networking service, but one that also expands upon these offerings and aims
to tear down the wall of technology limits, blurring the line between real life
and virtual life. Imagine making your favorite features more effective, more
user-friendly and more comprehensive. Imagine this platform—with all of these
products and services—having a direct impact on your career, building your
personal connections and managing your professional network—without overlap
of the two, improving your bill-paying convenience, easing photo upload and
sharing, integrating your ability to search for and communicate with customers
in real time, all the while increasing your access to the marketing knowledge you
need to grow your business.
Google+ isn’t there yet, but that’s the vision, and some say the platform will
achieve it in short order. With the much-anticipated launch of Google Pages, this
could mean the ability to track the consumer experience from start to finish, from
the moment a potential customer searches on their Android® device for a local
sushi restaurant and reads the online reviews, to mapping, to real-time menu
discussion and table reservations with an employee of the establishment, through
the final paying of the bill.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
Why Busi nesses Shoul d Care
By now, most businesses realize the marketing, branding and relationship-
building value of social media. Google+ strives to drill deeper. Here are some
reasons businesses should care about joining Google Pages.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the greatest implications of Google+ for businesses is that it can affect
how your company’s website shows up on Google’s search engine.
2
You’ve
probably seen the little +1 icon that now appears next to most links in a Google
search or next to the title of a blog post or news article on most major sites. To
the user, it functions similarly to Facebook’s
“like” button, but actually has much more
potential when the social network is tied to
the most widely used search engine on
the Internet.
Not only are +1s broadcast in real time to
a user’s Google+ network, they are also
integrated with Google itself. For example,
when a user is logged into their Google account and they conduct a
Google search, their search results will include notes as to who else, if anyone, in
their network has given +1 to a website or page.
This is key, as users turn increasingly to online reviews in determining what they
will buy and from whom, +1 offers the capability to see not only that the business
has been approved by a member of the public, but to see who among your own
network has endorsed it, arguably giving it the same weight as a word-of-mouth
endorsement, as it comes from someone you know and trust: friends, family, and
professional contacts.
For Google, the +1 button enables the search engine giant to weight the social
value of a site, as ranked by the public, rather than by the use of key words, bold
face type, and other SEO algorithmic, or organic solutions. Experts predict that
+1 may ultimately serve to customize an individual’s search results based not on
traditional SEO, but how a user’s network has rated online content.
Essentially, the +1 feature takes search results away from computer algorithms,
and puts it in the hands of real people. “This isn’t SEO in the traditional sense,
2 Spadier, Mike. “How Will Google Affect SEO?” Entrepreneur.com. 03 Aug. 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011.
<http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/220101>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
optimizing for these trusted endorsements is an entirely new strategy altogether.
Now more than ever, marketers must focus on providing the best customer
experience possible, and encourage +1 recommendations everywhere they can.”
3
While the +1 feature is still relatively new, and it’s hard to guess how it will fully
affect search engine results, one need only look at the effect of Facebook “likes”
and Twitter “retweets” to get a sense of the potential.
Data
As businesses plunge into the waters of Google Pages and attempt to anticipate
capabilities that will be available to them in the coming months, the potential
for business remains ripe, and the business community, hopeful. Hopeful that all
of these +1s, new user profiles, and integrated capabilities amount to a greater
wealth of data that Google can mine and share with the companies who want to
put it to work for them. From information on which websites and
online content users are consuming and when, to users’ locations
and online buying behavior and everything in between, there’s
a lot of potential data waiting to be mined that businesses and
organizations could use to expand and improve sales and engagement
with customers. Whether and how that data will be made available to
businesses is still unfolding.
Integration of capabilities
For a company that has strived from the start to gather data and serve
it up in a useable format for Web surfers, advertisers and webmasters,
greater integration of Google’s programs points the way not only
toward a greater pool of information to mine, but toward a one-stop-
shop for users. This integration includes a wide range of expanded
capabilities for individual programs Google has been developing for years,
including Gmail
®
and Google Documents
®
, but also integration of the
Internet itself.
Think of Facebook in comparison: In most cases you have to leave the social
network to search the Internet or purchase a product. In Google+ everything is
connected—there is potentially no more boundary between the social network
and the Web. It becomes one and the same.
Search within Google+ isn’t just search within the social network, but also search
of the most popular related web results. In addition, information contained
within the social network is searchable from outside the network—by non-
members. That means that a business presence on Google+ becomes a marketing
3 S padier, Mike. “How Will Google Affect SEO?” Entrepreneur.com. 03 Aug. 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011.
<http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/220101>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
touchpoint for customers who are not on Google+; the walls between users and non-
users are gone. It’s a mind blowing concept. Whether it sticks is a whole other story.
Real-time customer contact
In most social network settings, there can be lag time between the moment a
customer posts to a business page, or sends a message to the business, and the
follow-up. Google+ makes it possible for users to communicate in real-time, even
by videoconference. The result is that—where once there was a wall between
communicators, a relationship is potentially born.
It’s how you reach a passionate public. Google+ offers a different use than other
social networks: It is where people can connect with others who share their
interests, and learn about things they don’t yet know. “Whether it’s ice hockey,
cars or photography, the early adopters on Google+ are discovering each other
and making connections that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
4
Better sharing
On Google+, you can be sure your connections are getting what you share—or
not. With the Circles feature—which we’ll talk about in just a moment—users and
businesses can share content with specific groups, rather than risking
“sharing fatigue.”
5
The Bi rth of Googl e+
On June 28, 2011, Google+ was born. Available at first by invite-
only, for a so-called field-testing stage, the site instantly made its
mark. Within two weeks of its limited launch, Google+ had 10
million users. Within four weeks, it had 25 million unique visitors.
On September 20, Google+ became available to the general public,
including all individual users over the age of 18 (when appropriate
protective measures are in place, they promise to make it available
to a younger audience). The boom was well underway. Experts say as of October,
Google+ surpassed 40 million users. The Google+ for Apple application became
the most popular free application in the store in less than a day after its release.
Who are the early adopters? While it’s still just months old, the first to jump
aboard the new platform have been mostly men, who weigh in at more than 70%
4 Caldwell, Scott. “Why Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan Are Betting Big on Google.” SmartBlogs
Network. 8 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://smartblogs.com/socialmedia/2011/11/08/why-guy-
kawasaki-and-chris-brogan-are-betting-big-on-google/>.
5 Ibid.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
of users.
6
The pool of users skews heavily to a younger crowd, with more than
a third between the ages of 25 and 34. “Google+ is young-adult rich. This is the
golden demographic that most marketers want to reach, and being able to reach
it through a campaign that can be tracked through Google Analytics is a very
attractive value proposition.”
7
In addition, at least one survey says that while an estimated 13% of U.S. adults
have joined Google+, projections show up to 22% of U.S. adults will be on board
within the next year.
8

The Features
Perhaps the reason Google+ is taking off so quickly, other than the pre-
release buzz, is that it takes a heap of existing features in various social
networking platforms, grabs inspiration from the most popular and then
strives to increase capabilities and rebrand them. Imagine, everything you
like about the Web in one place.
Specifically, these features include
9
:
+Circles
Based on the premise that people have already established their
circles of friends and acquaintances in real life, Google+ strives to bring
that concept to software. Similar to the Groups concept on Facebook,
Circles enable the user to separate the people they’re connected with via
Google+, then share information as they deem appropriate. For example,
new employees may not want their boss to know they did three shots of
tequila the night before a big meeting. Theoretically, Circles could offer
greater privacy, and eliminate status update regret. The idea is that people
selectively share information all the time in their real social circles, and should be
able to do the same online.
6 Mitchell, Jon. “Who Used Google Plus First? Male Geeks From the US [Infographic].” ReadWriteWeb.
1 Aug. 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/who_uses_google_plus_
male_geeks_from_the_us_infogr.php>.
7 West, Angela. “How to Prepare Your Business for Google.” PCWorld. 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 02 Nov.
2011. <http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/240494/how_to_prepare_your_business_
for_google.html>.
8 MacMillan, Douglas. “Google May Pass Twitter Among U.S. Adults Online.” Bloomberg. 05 Aug. 2011.
Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-05/google-may-pass-twitter-with-
one-fifth-of-u-s-adults-online.html>.
9 “Introducing the Google Project: Real-life Sharing, Rethought for the Web.” Official Google Blog. 28
June 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/introducing-google-project-
real-life.html>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
+Sparks
Sparks offers a new take on content sharing, one which pairs the simplicity and
search capability of Twitter with the relative freedom of Facebook’s link- and
discussion-sharing ability. The theory behind it: sharing sparks conversation, and
Google+ built an engine to foster that tendency. Integrated with Google’s search
engine expertise, the wealth of information available to users is likely to satisfy
even the most voracious of information appetites. Google then delivers a feed of
shareable content related to an individual’s topical sparks in any of 40 languages.
+Hangouts
As much as technology has enabled people to connect online, the appeal and
simplicity of just hanging out with someone in person is somehow lost. If it
were as natural and casual as hanging out at a coffee shop, the awkwardness of
messaging someone or texting them to see if they’re available would be gone.
Google+ strives to capture that elusive gold ring, with Hangouts. Hangouts allow
users to “stop by” when they have free time, and to communicate with folks in
their Circles, via real-time video. Up to 10 people can hangout at a time, each
coming and going as they need to.
+Mobile
These days, many of us carry computers with us everywhere we go: our
cellphones, which have become nearly as powerful and useful as our
personal computers. Google+ aims to more fully integrate cellphone
capability with its social network, focusing on GPS, photo and video-
sharing, and messaging. Location can be added to every post to
Google+ from your phone, or users can opt out (presumably
so the boss doesn’t see you’re at the beach when you
should be in your cube.) Instant upload through Google+
allows users to swiftly and easily add photos to a private
album in the cloud, making the pictures highly shareable and
available across any of the user’s devices.
+Messenger
Known as Huddles upon the initial release, the newly-named Messenger offers a
group messaging service, which can reach everyone inside a user’s Circle in real-
time, wherever they are, on their smartphones.
Thirst for these capabilities and the hunger to join the community was substantial
upon release. Google+ was made available to smartphones early and quickly
became the fastest-moving free application for iPhones.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
+Increased privacy
In addition to these offerings, Google+ claims to offer the user increased control
over their privacy and what they release publicly—and issue that has been a sore
spot historically with users of some social networking platforms, even Google’s.
With Buzz, Gmail users’ email contacts were automatically included in the user’s
Buzz network. The outcry was substantial, “...setting off widespread
criticism that Google had invaded the privacy of users and failed
to understand that people’s e-mail contacts are not necessarily
their friends.”
10
Google quickly changed the program, but an
investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and subsequent
settlement, followed.
Google+ claims to handle privacy differently. How? The platform
enables users to share with groups, rather than with everyone, and
building those groups is comparatively simple, as easy as dragging
and dropping names into the appropriate category.
Users can follow other users without sharing their information in
return. A user’s posts will only be shared with the groups selected at
the time of posting.
Google+ has a far more simplified privacy policy than other social
networks. At just over 1,000 words, it is 1/6 the length of Facebook’s privacy
policy. It also addresses users in simple language, and offers fewer settings. Yet
some say that while the policy is simpler than what some other social networks
are offering, it doesn’t mean Google+ has a crystal clear policy. Much is still up for
interpretation.
11
Google+ requires only name and gender to be public, anything else users share is
up to them.
Traditionally, Google has not used information about what you do on its
properties for its ad placement. Instead, it uses search terms you have used to
reach the appropriate target audience.
Critics say Google+ still gathers user data, it’s just simply unclear how they will use
it. Google says,”Like all Google products and services, we are running analyses
10 Miller, Claire Cain. “Google Introduces Facebook Competitor, Emphasizing Privacy.” Nytimes.com.
The New York Times, 28 June 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/
technology/29google.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all>.
11 Singel, Ryan. “Google Plus vs. Facebook on Privacy: Plus Ahead on Points - for Now (Wired UK).”
Wired UK. 29 June 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-06/29/
google-facebook-privacy?p>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
of how users interact with Google+. We do that to make sure the products and
services are running correctly and to consider future improvements.”
12

Such information is incredibly valuable to marketers and a potential cash cow for
Google, but is, at least for now, private.
A Game Changer?
Keep in mind, with the number of products at Google’s disposal, increased
integration is anticipated across any number of apps and services. So while the
programming shadow Google+ casts appears small right now (some
critics say, it’s merely a Facebook wannabe), the promise, according to
some experts, is that the shadow will grow and eventually pose a risk
to other social networks and online communications platforms. More,
because Google has the tools at its disposal, Google+ promises to be a
game changer when it comes to business-to-consumer communications
(and vice versa), productivity, communications, advertising, analytics, and
as mentioned, Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Why is it a game changer? Tech experts say, while other social
networking sites have been working to build their user numbers and
social networking capabilities, Google has been working on its widely
varied products, building them up individually. Integration of those
products and capabilities is the natural next step, one which leaves other
sites—which do not have the same suite of programs and apps—in
the dust.
Googl e+ for Busi ness
Understandably, prior to the November 7 release to brands, businesses were
chomping at the bit to get their taste of Google+, particularly those which place
a high value on quality contact with customers and potential target markets.
Yet, businesses were largely discouraged from creating profiles. Early attempts
by some big-name companies were thwarted, their profiles quickly deactivated.
Google heads fast-tracked the release of Google Pages due to public interest.
In the meantime, social media and internet experts encouraged businesses
to jump right in, and develop individual profiles to get a head start on
understanding the platform and what would be required for business pages.
12 Ibid.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
With the launch of Google Pages now complete, here are the first steps
organizations should take:
1. Choose an accessible Gmail account. Early users say Google +
Pages’ administrative capabilities require improvement; Google
has indicated those changes are coming.
13
For now, choose a Gmail
account that is accessible to all members of your team, and use that
to create your page.
2. Build a detailed page. You can develop content by writing a
one paragraph description of your organization, gathering your
company logos and other assets, including photography you would
like to include in your profile. And, keep in mind that keywords will
continue to play a role. Immediately begin “researching targeted
ad campaigns and the keywords you’ll need to use. “The first
businesses to get on the more competitive keywords
on Google+ will likely reap some rich rewards.”
14
In
developing your boilerplate or company description,
use those keywords liberally.
3. Consider video. As a company, you may want to
consider investing in professional video development,
which will likely set you apart from your competition
when they add themselves to Google+.
4. Familiarize yourself with the platform capabilities.
Familiarize yourself with Hangouts and Messenger
(formerly Huddles). These features of Google+ may be
useful for videoconferencing and online collaboration as well as
webcasting.

Chris Brogan, social media whiz and author of “Google+ for
Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything,” due
out this fall, offered his top tips for businesses that wanted to get
an early start on connecting with the public through Google+.
15


Even before the launch of Google Pages, Brogan encouraged
businesses to get started by using the social space as representatives
13 Vaughan, Pamela. “How to Create a Google Business Page in 5 Simple Steps.” HubSpot. 8 Nov. 2011.
Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/28624/How-to-Create-a-Google-
Business-Page-in-5-Simple-Steps.aspx>.
14 West, Angela. “How to Prepare Your Business for Google” PCWorld. 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 02 Nov.
2011. <http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/240494/how_to_prepare_your_business_
for_google.html>.
15 Fell, Jason. “Chris Brogan on How Businesses Can Get Started on Google” Entrepreneur.com. 24 Aug.
2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220184>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
of their companies. The efforts of those who heeded his advice
were met with success, and stand to benefit companies more with
the launch of Google Pages. ”Bloggers across the web reported
unparalleled engagement levels, demolishing other social networks
in that aspect. Dell CEO, Michael Dell, participates in Google
Hangouts regularly, suggesting on more than one occasion that he
hopes to see his customer support team engaging customers the
exact same way soon. The personal touch, the face with a name
concept, is already gaining tremendous ground over the previous
business model.”
16

5. Promote your page. Google+ will prompt you to do this. But before
jumping in, make a few posts and customize your page. No users
want to visit a blank page—you’ll come up short in convincing
people that your Page is valuable enough to add to their Circles.
17
6 Make connections and start sharing. Brogan says the next step is to
search for people you can connect with who may add value to your
business. These include:
• Business prospects
• Vendors
• Current clients
• Industry thought leaders
A third-party site, FindPeopleOnPlus.com,
helps you find these people by searching
based on demographic info that best matches
your company, including the products and
services you provide. When you find them,
connect with them, says Brogan. Once
you have, there is a wealth of information
available to you, by tapping into the users’ Circles. Again, circles
are essentially categories of people created by the Google+ user to
enable him or her to deliver information to a controlled audience.
Coworkers, for example, might be in one circle, close friends in
another. The Google+ user can then choose to share information
16 Holly, Russell. “More Information about Google for Businesses Revealed.” Geek.com. 22 July 2011.
Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/more-information-about-google-for-
businesses-revealed-20110722/>.
17 Vaughan, Pamela. “How to Create a Google Business Page in 5 Simple Steps.” HubSpot. 8 Nov. 2011.
Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/28624/How-to-Create-a-Google-
Business-Page-in-5-Simple-Steps.aspx>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
with some circles and not others, creating easier-to-use control
measures over the dissemination of information.
The information created in Circles is a gold mine for businesses.
Brogan suggests mining the Circles for current customers, target
markets, industry influencers and more. Then, start sharing. “You
can post photos of your happiest customers. You can post location
data and share where your mobile food truck, for example, is going
to be. There are all kinds of great ways to sharing,” Brogan says.
18

Once you spark conversation, you’ve found a way to engage your
customer base and your potential customers, and the relationship-
building has begun.
Do we real l y need *another* soci al network?
We know you’re probably saying, “But I already have Facebook and Twitter. Do I
really need another social media presence?”
Navigating the social media field can be overwhelming. It requires regular, if
not daily commitment to keep your content fresh and your company relevant. It
requires rapid response to comments or questions from customers and potential
customers—if not, what’s the point? So if you recognize the value of social media,
but seek even greater personalization and responsiveness
to your target markets, it may be time to explore
Google+. It doesn’t mean you have to throw away your
existing presence online—after all, Facebook still has the
bulk of the social media market share, and Twitter serves
different communications needs. But checking out the
newest technology can only serve to inform you of your
options for interacting with your key publics. Whether it
is right for you, is dependent upon your organization’s
communications goals and priorities, and a carefully
thought out and strategically developed marketing plan
can help you determine next steps.
If your concern is that you’ll be embracing another social network just to be part
of the next great thing, there’s no need to worry. Industry insiders say Google+
is more than the new guy on the social media block; he’s the guy with the biggest
18 Fell, Jason. “Chris Brogan on How Businesses Can Get Started on Google” Entrepreneur.com. 24 Aug.
2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220184>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved
bag of tricks, or at least the biggest potential. And for many, that means Google+
stands to de-throne the reigning king of social media: Facebook. How?
Well, we’ve already talked about many ways this is poised to occur through search
and integration, but there are other things to consider, too
19
:
• Business productivity. Google already has the tools businesses want
to use for productivity, Google Apps for Business, as well as the
Apps Marketplace, for those searching for more. While Facebook
openly admits they want to kill email (and is often blocked from
employees by businesses), Google integrates email, known as
Gmail, into a platform of products that actually serve business.
Current numbers indicate the largest growth among business apps
users is small companies, and in total at least 3 million businesses
are already using Apps. With full integration of its social network
capabilities, Google+ could conceivably entice users to enter, and
rarely have cause to leave the world of Google products.
• E-commerce. For businesses wishing to employ a checkout payment
system, Google+ may have the future capability to handle it in
house, so to speak, rather than requiring users to work with PayPal
or other third party e-commerce tools. This could create greater
convenience for customers and cost savings for businesses.
• Business websites. Analysts say Google has the
opportunity to make it easier for companies to build
a robust website. “Google would be smart to let
businesses use the tried-and-true programming
languages, such as HTML and CSS, in addition
to drag-and-drop design templates, to doll up
their Google+ presence.”
• Advertising and analytics. Google Analytics
offers meaningful performance tools for
advertising. Google’s advertising models
of AdWords and AdSense
®
reaches a far broader
audience than other social networks, and can reflect users’
Google search results. Not to mention, Google’s tools have been in
place for a long time, and the pay-per-click system works well.
19 Mitaru, Ilie, and Elsa Wenzel. “Why Google Business Profiles Will Trump Facebook Pages” PCWorld.
11 July 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/235272/why_
google_business_profiles_will_trump_facebook_pages.html>.
© 2011 4imprint, Inc. All rights reserved

Mapping and Location-based tie-ins. In another integration
opportunity, Google+ pages will tie in nicely with Google Places,
which can be found in its Maps searches. The implications here
are huge: a user could search for a business through Maps, then
potentially interact directly with a company through Google+,
getting feedback and answers to questions in real time. Imagine
a customer who wants to know if you carry a hard-to-find holiday
gift. If you can immediately communicate with that individual, and
hold the item until they arrive, you’ve earned that customer’s trust
and started to build a relationship. A customer seeking a restaurant
to dine at for the evening could inquire about menu options and
reservation openings. It’s the next level of customer engagement,
and it could be attainable through Google+. Facebook has been
working toward similar integration, but has run into shortcomings
and has become stuck in more surface functionality, including
reviews and check-ins.

• Mobile Payments. The next wave for payment
options is Near Field Communication, or NFC
technology, which allows Android users to
tap their phones together to transmit data,
including credit card information. Google’s
e-wallet already utilizes this technology, which
is currently available to only a limited number
of new phones, but is projected to grow in
popularity. What does this mean for Google+
for these mobile users? “A user could not
only check into a location using their Google+
profile, but could purchase through it as well, with the purchase
tracked and shown to the business owner. In theory, a Google+ user
could be tracked from when she clicked on an ad, how much time
she spent on the website, when she checked into the store, and
what she bought. Google already has proven models for most of
these interactions; there’s no reason not to tie them together.”
In addition to all these considerations, public perception must also be taken into
account. For many, Google is the place people go to find what they need—rather
than just connect with friends. “So when Google+ business profiles allow you to
integrate your business’s presence into trusted tools used by everyday
searchers, it’s a proposition that neither Facebook nor business owners can
afford to ignore.”
20
20 Mitaru, Ilie, and Elsa Wenzel. “Why Google Business Profiles Will Trump Facebook Pages” PCWorld.
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An Unfol di ng Future
Ben Parr of Mashable.com described Google+ as a bold and dramatic stab at
social media. Yet, “There’s a reason why Google calls this a ‘project’ rather than
a ‘product’ — they don’t want people to think of this as the final product, but as
a constantly-evolving entity that permeates every corner of the Google empire.
Overall, Google+ is solid. But I’m not going to call it a Facebook killer or a
game-changer.”
21
Some critics doubt that Google+ can draw users away from Facebook to the
degree it hopes. “People have their social circles on Facebook - asking them
to create another social circle is challenging,” Debra Aho Williamson, principal
analyst with research firm eMarketer, told the Associated Press news agency. “The
whole idea of a Google social network... they’ve been throwing stuff against the
wall for several years and so forth nothing has stuck.”
22
Google remains hopeful. According to Bradley Horowitz, vice president for
products at Google+, “I expect brands will notice this and will build marketing
plans around it.” Horowitz says he expects that over time brands will adopt the
plus sign, placing it on their products and using it in their ad campaigns.
23
The substantial buzz related to the launch of Google Pages illustrates not only
that businesses are open to new opportunities, but at the very least that there
is a desire for greater integration of business tools, online interactivity with key
audiences, and social media. Whether Google+ is the tool to do the job, and how
long widespread adoption to rival other social networks will take remains to be
seen. And while the payback of early engagement is yet unknown, businesses
willing to embrace the technology, taking part in a one-stop shop for social
networking, sharing, commerce and the rest of online life believe the latest effort
by Google could be, simply put, a big plus.
11 July 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/235272/why_
google_business_profiles_will_trump_facebook_pages.html>.
21 Parr, Ben. “Google+ : First Impressions.” Mashable. 28 June 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2011. <http://
mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus-review/>.
22 Shiels, Maggie. “Google Challenges Facebook in Social Network Battle.” BBC. 28 June 2011. Web. 02
Nov. 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13953416>.
23 Hardy, Quentin. “Google Lets In the Corporations - NYTimes.com.” Technology - Bits Blog - NYTimes.
com. 7 Nov. 2011. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/google-lets-in-
the-corporations/>.