• http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Hi! I’m the author of this article. I’d love to have your comments or questions, and I’ll be happy to try to answer any I can.

  • Ryan Best

    Besides Vic leaving what has really caused this debate?

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    A post on TechCrunch on the day Vic Gundotra announced his departure that speculated, based on that event and a couple of rumors from unnamed “sources” that Google was putting Google+ on “walking dead” status.

  • Ryan Best

    Seems like we may be adding fuel to the fire with the debate. I think the platform was progressing well, and it’s almost as if either I was mislead or naive in what I was seeing when I hear it’s not “sticking”. Kinda bothers me not because I have a lot vested but because it’s just a better tool and Google should know that. Weird!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Ryan, if you read my post I would hope you saw that I think it IS “sticking around,” and I explain why. That Google may choose to not push the brand as much as they have in the past is NOT the same as killing it. It will continue to work just as effectively as it always has, and I believe it will continue to grow as well.

  • Darthjr

    I truly enjoyed the article @trappermark:disqus. The one thing that I can’t sort out was if Vic was fired or did he leave on his own. TC said he was fired but why wouldn’t Google just shift him to another project? I personally love Google+. Engagement with like minded people is high, but I’m a nerd. I don’t go there for the people I go there for the conversation.

  • LocalPCGuy

    Good article, I’ve been trying to say something similar to those that would listen and this was much more eloquent.

  • http://www.gaycelebritygossip.com/ John Hollywood


    You did a great job with this article. A friend of mine shared your post from G+ , which led me here. I think Google+ is totally where anyone involved with social media needs to be, particularly SEO stuff. I agree, changes are likely to take place but this should be expected.

    One hope of mine is that they dump the “G+” name and rename it to something people understand. Maybe something like “Social” or “Circles” (keep the Google name out of it – it confuses people).

    Wonderful job here. I circled you and look forward to reading more from you!

    John Hollywood


  • http://promored.ru/ Kristina

    Great article, Mark. You’ve taken a deep analysis of Google+. I wouldn’t like that network to die as I’ve kind of got used to it. But I woudn’t argue that Google pushed G+ (with authorship markup, for example) where Twitter and FB were quite enough for people. I think that the majority of G+ users today are marketers. I myself would hardly ever join it if I didn’t have a site.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Thanks Darthjr. I see speculation about the circumstances of Vic’s leaving to be unproductive. We simply don’t know. I would like to note that Vic has continued to post on Google+ during the week since he left. That seems to me to point away from it having been a firing or any kind of hostile ousting. My personal “bet” is that it was either that Vic felt what he’d set out to do with Google+ was accomplished and he wanted to move on to a new challenge, or Google and he came to a mutual agreement that something new was needed.

  • Durant Imboden

    Nice article, and it makes a lot of sense–even on a simple, intuitive, practical level. Why bother with a “+” if it ends up being a “-“? People have been going to Google for years, so why complicate things by turning a core platform into an appendage or spin-off?

  • Andre van Wyk

    Great Info Mr Traphagen (as usual)! I just hope Google doesn’t wake up one day and decide to discontinue G+ like it has with other services and products, for whatever reason they may or may not give …..

  • tristechan

    I think what Google needs to understand (and what they might be understanding now, based on this article) is this: I don’t really give a crap if some giant megacorporation is looking at my data in order to target ads at me, but I do care if people I know personally are able to see everything I’m doing online. That is what fundamentally bothered me (and many others) about Google+. If they want to connect my accounts so that Google can see my YouTube comments and everything else I say when attached to a Google account, that’s fine. But putting it all together in a social network is too much, because then it’s friends and family who get to see what you’re doing and what you’re saying. What they really need to do is allow users to completely disable the social networking side of Google+ while still letting them use other features. Go ahead and mine me for data, I don’t really give a crap. Just don’t share that data with my mother.

  • http://About.me/StbxYou Stb Hernández

    Really, marketers? What about communities touching different topics like Gaming, movies, etc? Are people participating in them marketers, too?

  • Alex Aky

    I don’t think that Google+ will leave. But it’s a new recipe for them and they will have to figure out how to make it interesting. Facebook is messing up so much atm. People are starting to hate it. Google+ is smarter. They just need more patience, and skills + marketing..! Nice article though

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Hi tristechan. Did you know that you could create a Google+ page with any name you like and connect your YouTube account to that, so you can comment there without it being connected with your personal Google+ profile? Also, when commenting with your profile, you can uncheck the box that posts the comment on your Google+ profile.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    I agree that it’s a misperception that “the majority of G+ users today are marketers.” That perception may be because some of the most active and best-known users are, but here’s the thing: you don’t have to circle them! As you say, Stb Hernandez, there are plenty of people there with other interests.

  • http://upnext.tk David Cunningham

    I have to agree, Google+ isn’t going anywhere, it is here to stay. But as you said, they may deemphasize the name, there is no reason for the name. Most definitely there are changes coming, there just has to be to keep up with demand. I will actually look more into this and cover it aon my blog, Up Next http://upnext.tk Thanks for a great post here!

  • Nathaniel Hornsby

    Google gave a important statement to TechCrunch: “Today’s announcement has no impact on our Google Plus strategy – we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos.” So Google+ is here to stay and Google is making Hangout and Google+ better for everyone. But Google is trying to improve Android on the market. This was posted on (http://www.stuff.co.nz) 5 Days Ago

  • Hivo Del

    Como sempre, Mark Traphagen continua fazendo observações muito interessantes.

  • http://www.cyberliciousinc.com/ Ben Guest

    Take away Authorship, Google + Local and the YouTube force sign in, and what does G+’s numbers look like? Not saying G+ is dead. I’m just saying it helps to have Google in the name along with all its other products. Google specifically set things in place to force people into their platform which was brilliant on their part as it inflated those numbers for them. I love G+. Just wish I had more friends on it, however, it would be cool to meet new ones. Circle me please!

  • Robert Cerff

    Dare I say you’ve got it backwards, but the idea is correct. We’ve come to think of Google+ as the social aspect but that’s not quite correct. Google+ was supposed to be your Google account +social… as well as every other product that you subscribe to.

    I do agree that their social aspect shouldn’t have been called Google anything it should have been Circles. So ultimately we’d all be loving Google+. I think their marketing folk missed a trick here.

    This was supposed to be the easiest way to centralise all products and services, but instead was forced as a social update. Google+ is here to stay, but I think it’s a failure from what was original envisioned.

  • Robert Cerff

    I agree Kristina.

    When in doubt run the “Britney Test”. Just compare the interaction on the same posts for Britney’s pages on Google+ and Facebook and you’ll see just how far behind Google+ truly is lagging.

  • AlaninMontreal

    Google+’s biggest challenge now is the fact that it is perceived as a dying failure; it’s gone from “ghost town” to “graveyard”. Even if this isn’t true, perception is reality. It’s difficult now to make the case that corporations and individuals should invest time and resources in building a presense on G+.

    A rebranding is the only alternative in my opinion. Google doesn’t like to be associated with failures; perceived or otherwise.

    Finally, Google also has no choice now but to “unbundle” G+ from the rest of its services. There can be viable benefits from having a G+ profile if one uses other Google services, but I believe the days of mandatory G+ profiles will come to an end very quickly.

  • AlaninMontreal

    I never believe these statements. A few months back, my employer overhauled products and cancelled services. For months in advance, it denied rumours that this was going to happen…

  • John Rhoads

    Do you think Google will hope to capture interest/personal connection data that is stored in social networks like FB through Android? If that is the missing piece of the data puzzle on a user do you see the app-links project as a threat to that?

  • http://www.sklep-naturalna-medycyna.com.pl/ Jacek Rybak

    Punkt sprzedaży, w jakim odnajdziecie wszystko, co naturalne oraz zdrowe dla organizmu ludzkiego. To oczywiście nasza domena internetowa, która serdecznie zaprasza rozmaitością artykułów i akcesoriów, które staną się piedestałem dla każdego. Wejdź już teraz na domenę internetową przez link medycyna naturalna, by zrozumieć, o czym mówimy. Stworzony przez nas punkt sprzedaży to najogromniejsza baza wszelkiego rodzaju suplementów oraz naturalnych składników, które po mistrzowsku współgrają z ludzkim organizmem. Jeśli w następstwie tego szukasz pomocy, Twoje zdrowie nie jest w najlepszym stanie lub ewentualnie po prostu chcesz, żeby życie zmieniło się na poprawniejsze – wstąp oraz złóż zlecenie. Na pewno nie pożałujesz.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Robert, the Britney Test? I fail to see how that would be of any relevance to real marketers. (Remember, this is a Marketing Land article!).

    Real marketers don’t worry about celebrity popularity, especially by accounts that aren’t even run by the celebs themselves (Hello, Britney!). Real marketers are after targeted audiences, targeted reach, and influence.

  • AdamJoseph

    Facebook is messing up? In the last 18 months, their net membership grew as much as G+ has grown since it was introduced! The ad revenue is up. The number of non-teenage members is expanding rapidly, and their stock is up. Their users spend MULTITUDES of more time engaging on their network compared to G+. I dont’ know why you think FB is messing up.

  • AdamJoseph

    Spam is spam…even in Polish.

  • http://www.cyberliciousinc.com/ Ben Guest

    Enron anyone?

  • http://scoop.it/t/secular-curated-news-views Secular Antitheist Liberal

    The fact that Skype is moving to include multiple people video chat, a G+ feature of hangouts, is an indication G+ is doing something right. imho

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    NONE of those products were integrated into all of Google the way that Google+ is. As I said in my post, “…turning off something like Google Reader was like removing a sock. Dismantling Google+ would be more like ripping out a person’s central nervous system.”

  • Robert Cerff

    Hi Mark, sorry if I wasn’t clear enough. I was referring entirely to engagement.

    Again, you need only look to pages that would have a high level of posts, fans and subsequent engagement. This has nothing to do with the actual end product.

    As Britney is actually heavily marketed on all levels (hello Markeing Land) this is a fair yardstick for user addoption. At present, Kristina appears to be quite correct, apart from the forced integration Google+ has very little real activity.

    There are many good reasons to ensure you’re using Google+, but user engagement (apart from marketers – as Kristina points out) is poor on Google+.

    I think my example remains valid.

  • http://www.wpbeijing.com/ Activ Hub- China Digital Intel

    Perhaps we are seeing assertion 2 with the removal of the +counter replaced by views?

  • http://petestean.com/ Pete Stean

    Mark, I see what you’re saying in your article, but Google’s central products are (and always have been to date) search and advertising. Google+ gives them useful data about their users but it’s still peripheral to their core business.

    I note some commenters are also using the ‘too big to fail’ argument – I’m sorry to say it but that indicates that you know little about Google’s history, or indeed that of the wider web as a whole. I was a user of Buzz and Wave (their previous two forays into the social space) and they had no qualms about dismantling those platforms. The one silver lining I take away from this is that if they do decide to kill it as a discreet platform, it’s very likely that whatever lessons they’ve learned from this particular experiment in social will be captured in their next product, whatever that might be…

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Perhaps. It’s possible that views is just a better way to show people and brands that they are getting a lot more reach on G+ than they might have thought.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Thanks for the comment, Pete. My argument about Google+ is NOT that it’s too big to fail. It’s that it is deeply integrated into all of online Google. Neither Buzz nor Wave were. They were bolt ons, and easily unbolted. Not so with G+.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Hi John, Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Google does not have any access to internal Facebook data including user data through the Android FB app.

  • Callan Dick

    Mark, you say that the Google+ project has been an incredible success because it drove the unification of Google products. Maybe it’s a success from a marketing point of view, but not from the consumer’s. Quite the opposite. As a brand, Google+
    is now tainted, but not over whether people use it or not. It is perceived as a monstrous data-guzzler, looking at and recording everything you do, big-brother style. I’m not saying that’s the reality (well actually I am) but it’s the perception.

    From my point of view Google has shot itself in the foot, as this unification has driven me away from using it. I am forced to have a Google+ account (I don’t like being forced. I deleted my profile immediately). I now don’t use Gmail because they scan emails for targeted advertising. I no longer comment on YouTube videos. If I log in to see a favourite, I log out again immediately. I like my privacy, I don’t want all these services linked. It’s not “convenient”, it’s intrusive.

    So you’re right, the social media aspect is almost irrelevant. What Google+ has done is make me lose my trust in Google. In marketing terms I don’t count that as a success!

  • zioale

    I think that it will be a more “natural” part of the google platform. They can mantain the same characteristics without using a particular brand name. It can just be “Google”.
    Anyways it’s very significative that this article has more shares on G+ than on the other platforms

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Well, I have 82,000 “not dead yet” followers on Google+, so that helps ;-)

  • http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J0DRS7G RealWorld

    I don’t think G+ has been a success. They’ve been riddled with problems integrating Google Maps, getting Google Authorship to work properly and they recently created at least one duplicate G+ page (or site) for every business. What a mess to clean up.

    Hang out’s have had some success, but over all it’s a poorly programmed site that’s been full of problems and will probably cause SEO’s more headaches in the future as they try to “fix” it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    I think saying “not a success” because of a few problems is a big overstatement. Facebook still has a number of problems, and no one says they’re not a success.

    Integrating Google+ into other Google products has proven to be a huge challenge, as those products weren’t engineered for such integration. However, Google has shown a dogged commitment to making the integration work, and seem to be willing to make the long term investment in making it work. In the meantime the vast majority of it is working very well.

    As for your specific examples:

    1. I’m not sure what problem you see with G+ and Google Maps. Could you be more specific?

    2. Authorship is a tiny offshoot from Google+. Again, I’m not sure to what specific problems you refer. In what way is it not “working properly”?

    3. They have certainly NOT created a duplicate G_ page for “every business.” They DID create Local Pages (which are NOT inherently full-fledged G+ pages) for any business that has a verified Places account but no integrated G+ page. Businesses with such pages can claim them, verify their ownership, and then merge them with a Google+ Local Brand Page to take advantage of the social and reviews features.

  • http://www.cyberliciousinc.com/ Ben Guest

    For #3, I think what is being referred to is if you created a Google + page already. What was happening was if you created a Google + page and chose Organization/Company then merged your business listing, it would create a brand new Google + Local page. So now your business has two. The local page Google created during Google + Local implementation and the one you created by choosing Organization/Company. It is a mess. Google should have been more specific with this implementation. Where’s the release notes?

  • zz4j9m

    Toward the end, I think you mean “Whither goeth Google+?” (goeth, not goest). Archaic third-person singular, not second.

  • LiberalGilt

    Why quote Elgan? He has a zero track record for being right about anything!

  • http://www.dmzilla.com/ DMZilla

    Nice article Mark. Although the latest move from Google in which they back-pedalled Google Authorship in search results has again raised some questions on the future of Google+. I’ve written an article on this and some more thoughts on the following link. Let me know your thoughts on the same.