Google+ is the social wrapper around Google’s other products

To me, Google+ isn’t so much a social network in the traditional sense or a direct competitor to Facebook.

Google+ is the social wrapper around Google’s existing products, enticing users to spend more time on those sites, interact more and give everything that Google does a social dimension with a cohesive wrapper. I now use plus.google.com as my launching pad to the Google world. This is why I think Google+ is going to be a success.

It’s not a social network in the Facebook sense of connecting with family and friends. Nor do I think Google+ would find much success being a direct Facebook competitor. Rather I see it as Google 2.0 (or a plused version of Google, if you will) that is bringing social to all of Google’s products.

I use Gmail as my main email client, Google Search as my only search engine, Google Docs for much of the work I do here and elsewhere and sometimes I use the Google Reader Web interface (strongly prefer Reeder). Because of Google+, I have found myself using these products more, and this is Google’s ultimate goal.

Google+ is not an island.

If Google wanted Google+ to be a social networking island, I think it would define success much differently. To be a success that way, Google+ would need to rival Facebook in the number of users. But as a social wrapper around Google’s core products — a way of taking Google into a new decade and phase in the company — its core mission is to get people to use Google’s other products more and more collaboratively.

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5 Comments on “Google+ is the social wrapper around Google’s other products”

  1. Matt Hauger says:

    Helpful write-up! Just one quibble: does “wrapper” imply something pejorative? Does that image suggest that G+ is a superficial addition to Google’s “real” products?

    Maybe Google+ is more like “yeast” than a surface-level veneer. If Plus gets “kneaded” deep into Google’s core services, not only will it drive traffic, it will improve the products themselves. Better collaboration (as you note) is one baked-in benefit. Better search is another: with unfettered access to your social graph, Google can serve up relevant results like never before. Microsoft had similar goals in mind when it integrated Facebook data into Bing.

    Social “flavor” will improve Google’s services, no doubt. Less appetizing? Search engines may exploit users’ social data to perfect ad-targeting recipes, as well. That’s where their bread is buttered, after all.

    • I’m using it to mean more as something that holds everything together. Perhaps we could call it the social glue instead. I find myself using Google products more than ever because of Google+.

      Perhaps it is a yeast, as you say. What I’m trying to convey is that I don’t see Google+ as a traditional social network, but rather an attempt by Google to make all of their products more social. Instead of Buzz or some of there other initiatives, Google+ isn’t an island, but rather an extension to all of Google’s products.

      You do raise an interesting point about search engines and targeted ads. Do you fear that this data will be misused by Google? I have noticed that Google wants to default to us making as much of this public as possible.

      • Matt Hauger says:

        I like that; Google+ isn’t just somewhere you go. It’s part of what you’re already doing–on Gmail, Docs, search, Picasa, etc.

        Re. ads: Google’s business is selling users to advertisers. Plus makes this possible in at least two ways. First, it improves Google products (as we discussed above), and better products means more users, and more users means more ads. But, second, Plus exposes our interests and demographic info. It’s hard to believe Google won’t take advantage.

        Robert Hof posted on this topic last week. Consider Google+’s ‘Circles’ feature. When you create an ‘Android nerds’ or ‘Phillies fans’ group, you’ve just helped Google peg those friends with infinitely more pertinent ads. It makes me wonder whether my contacts will appreciate being handed to the Goog on a silver platter.

      • I hadn’t thought of the circles implications. Thanks for bringing that up. Utterly fascinating that we could help Google sell better ads just be categorizing our friends.

  2. […] Google+ is the social wrapper around Google’s other products — We further discuss our thoughts on Google+, and we have a lot. […]


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