Google Plus – Doing No Evil? [guest blog post by @martinwjordan @equatoragency]

For those who are uninitiated, Google Plus is Google’s third attempt at getting into the Social Media  after the big fat fails that were Google Wave and Google Buzz. And rumour has it that the success (or otherwise) of Google Plus will affect the bonus Googlers will receive this year.

So, it comes as no surprise that Google is pulling out all the stops to make Google Plus a resounding success. Well, it’s working to some degree, they’ve just announced they have over 400 million members on the platform and, apparently, 100 million active monthly users after only one year.

However impressive these numbers may sound, it’s worth putting them into some context. Facebook counts almost a billion active users a month. And when you consider that an active user on Google Plus spends just 3 minutes on the platform per month compare to Facebook’s average of over six hours per month, it’s fair to say that Google Plus is not a “happening” social network.

So, the people at Google have a problem. They may have a lot of signups but very little interaction – and it’s the interaction they need to make it a worthwhile product (and the market research tool they need it to be).

As a result, it’s starting to look like Google is taking some more desperate measures to get people using it. It’s now more tightly integrated with Local results in search, making businesses with local listings adopt … or potentially drop down the page. It’s now more tightly integrated with paid search, meaning if you’ve got an active following on Google Plus you get improved paid search visibility.

When you consider Google’s mantra since the dawn of time has been “Don’t Be Evil”, it starts to become questionable when site owners start to feel their arms being twisted into using it to ensure they remain on the front page of Google…

What does this mean for the end user?

What does this mean for the future of Google Plus?

Is Google Plus REALLY a social platform or just an extended search tool?

I hope to answer these and other questions at my talk during Social Media Week entitled “Google Plus – Social Animal or SEO henchman?” – Thursday 1pm at the wonderful CitizenM Hotel. Equator has two days of talks, workshops and fun there on Thursday and Friday. Why not check out the full list on the listing above and book your spaces – last few remaining!

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