Friday, 4 November 2011

Is Google+ deader than the digital-Dodo, or a rival to Twitter and Facebook?

The jury’s still out on Google+

Will it become the essential third social platform for journalism, alongside Twitter and Facebook?

Or will it fade, as previous, much-trumpeted Google features such as Buzz and Wave have done?

My hunch is it’s going to end up lagging third in the rank of usefulness to journalists for at least a year.

But I could be wrong. 

It may tank. 

When I checked how many of the 724 people in my circles were inactive, using the Uncircle+ app, almost a third hadn’t posted for a month.

That doesn’t look good.

So why bother with it?

Well, because I can’t see Google letting it die without a very hard fight.

Google+ is being positioned at the heart of Google’s operations. 

Google is integrating all other applications with it, in an effort to make it the essential social web-home where all is available.

Google has plenty of other apps it can integrate with it.

Reader has now been integrated, so that you can add any of the items you gathered in the Reader, from the RSS feeds we looked at in this Masterclass to your feed, and share them with your circles.

YouTube, which Google also owns, now appears as a tab to the right of your screen. Click on it and you’re asked: What do you want to play? 

Add a search term and you get a pop-up with relevant videos, plus a box asking what you’d like to play next.

And you can share the videos you watch with those in your Circles.

So, you can stay here for YouTube as well as Reader.

It follows, then, that Google+ is not just a social network: it is an effort to create a backbone for all Google services - and the full implications of that are only just becoming obvious.

As Adam Tinworth pointed out when I posted about inactive accounts on Google+: “People forget that in the early days of Twitter people would sign up and let their accounts go fallow for months. This is normal for the early stages of a new social service…”

For that reason, I believe it’s worth building our proficiency with it.

I’ll be posting a full masterclass on enhancing your use of Google+ for journalism soon. Check here for updates.

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