Google is the King of internet search engines. No search engine is bigger, as well known, or has influenced pop culture as much as it has. It’s also changed the way people communicate with each other with Google Hangouts. Their maps application has become the desktop and mobile application for folks planning a road trip. They have mastered almost every type of platform they have invested in.
Google has struggled to grow the popularity of its social media site, Google Plus. Google has claimed that they have 500 million active users, but studies have shown only 4-6 million users are actually interacting on the site.
Google tried to direct people to use the site, by integrating all of their properties together in 2013. For example, in order to upload a movie to Youtube, you’d have to sign up for a Google Plus account. However, that attempt to ignite interest in the site also failed.
Despite their multiple attempts at mass integration, the site has never gained the popularity necessary to compete with Facebook and other social media sites. The lack of user interest led to an announcement on Monday, July 27th by the executive in charge of Google Plus, Bradley Horowitz. He posted, on the Google blog, that there were going to be, “some important changes” in the near future to their social media platform.
One of the immediate changes, users will no longer need a social media account to use Youtube and other Google properties. They also will be shutting down the Google Photos initiative after only a few months. Instead, the photos will become a part of the still very much alive Google Hangout platform. Horowitz promises that his team will work on, “a more focused Google Plus experience.”
There are some hints in the blog post of what that might be, including creating easier ways to share and engage with content between users, but no definite vision for the ailing social media site.So what does this mean for you?
The good news is (as of now) there was no mention of deleting Google Plus accounts or pages. So the content you post on Google Plus is still there. There is also no mention of Google search engines ignoring individual posts. For small businesses, this is great news. It means that the content you post on Google Plus will still be indexed as separate web pages and will help to build your organic search results.
But, the truth is, we don’t know what the future has in store for Google Plus as it tries to correct its failed attempt at social media. I find it hard to believe that Google will give up on anything after spending so much money on a product over a course of four years. The new versions of Google Plus are probably going to start focusing on making content engagement shine, in a hope that instead of rivaling Facebook, they’ll instead create a better showcase for user content.
However, in another year, if this still doesn’t help grow popularity for Google Plus, you may have one less social media channel to update.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at email@example.com.
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