Why Google Plus Will Not Die (But May Change)

Last week’s announcement that Google+ founding father Vic Gundotra has left Google opened the door to a rash of speculation about the future of Google’s biggest venture into social media.


The idea that Google+ might be dying started with a TechCrunch post that included statements from a few anonymous sources declaring Google+ to be “walking dead” at Google:

We’ve heard [...] that Google+ is not “officially” dead, more like walking dead: “When you fire the top dog and take away all resources, it is what it is.”

In other words, supposedly Google had decided that Google+ was a failed experiment that needed to be put on “life support only/do not resuscitate” status. That post was cited by many others in the tech press as proof that Google+ is scheduled for a date with the Google morgue.

It is my opinion that such conclusions are not only premature and unwarranted, but actually make no sense. That is, they make no sense to anyone who really understands what Google+ is within the Googlesphere. However, that doesn’t mean that Google+ won’t be in for some serious changes in the coming months.

In this post, I will make four assertions about the future of Google+. I don’t mean any of these assertions to be absolutes, or even “predictions.” Like all of us on the outside of the few offices clustered around Larry Page’s in Mountain View, I see through a glass dimly. But I base these on my long experience of observing both Google and Google+.

Here’s what I will assert, followed by a more in-depth reason for each assertion:

  1. Google+ the social network and user data infrastructure of Google is not going away.
  2. However, Google+ the brand may change significantly (or even disappear).
  3. That change may be driven by the realization that the future for big online advertising companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google is not so much in social engagement on one mega-network as it is in user data acquisition.
  4. The Google+ project has been an incredible success (even if the social network never achieved the success of Facebook) because it drove the unification of Google products, the creation of a unified user privacy policy and sign in, and supercharged the data acquisition needs of Google.

Assertion 1: Google+ Is Not Going Away

If I would hang my hat and put down money on anything in this post, it’s that Google has no intentions whatsoever of killing Google+. For one thing, we have strong statements from Google+ Chief Architect Yonatan Zunger that the TechCrunch article alleging the coming death of G+ was “utter bollocks” and that the supposed reassignment of G+ staff to other projects was nothing more than a logistical moving of staff to a larger building for space reasons.

In his own statement about Gundotra’s departure, Google CEO Larry Page concluded that the company would “continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans.” Other Google employees chimed in on Google+ threads to add their affirmations that Google+ wasn’t going anywhere.

It’s nice to have those statements from top people at Google, but (understandably) you might be hesitant to take their word for it. I don’t think you have to. There are more fundamental reasons why I think Google is far from done with Google+.

It just doesn’t make sense that Google would now dismantle Google+. Google+ isn’t an added-on product with an off switch you can flip in a moment. It is now truly baked in to the very infrastructure of almost all of Google’s online products and services.

Some have noted that Google has in the past killed products without sentimentality. That is true, but 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.

Furthermore, because of that intensive integration into nearly all of Google, Google+ performs a number of valuable functions for Google, even apart from the social network that is its most visible component. (Much more about that in my third assertion.)

So, I don’t think Google+ is going anywhere, But….

Assertion 2: The Google+ Name May Be Deemphasized

I do think it quite plausible that we will, in the not-distant future, see a growing de-emphasis of the Google+ brand. Indeed, a possible hint of that came out just this week when The Verge noticed that Google is testing a version of their Sign In button for websites that says just “Sign in with Google” instead of “Sign in with Google+.”

Whether by bad luck or mishandling, or some combination of the two, the Google+ brand has never gained positive traction in public perception. Almost three years in, those of us who are advocates of the platform find ourselves still almost daily having to defend it from ridicule. That’s not a good position for any brand name.

However unfairly, the Google+ name has become almost indelibly linked by non-users with “fail,” “ghost town” and something that Google pushes unwanted on users of its other products. After three years, it may be time to admit that the opportunity to overcome that perception has been missed.

It may be that the social network continues to be known as Google+, but we stop hearing “Google+ is Google” type statements from Google. Perhaps, as Danny Sullivan speculated, user accounts may return to being just Google accounts. We might see the cessation of Google nagging (or in some cases, forcing) everyone to “sign up for Google+” in order to use other Google products.

The fact remains though, that Google could do all of that without killing the Google+ social network, and certainly without killing the other functions Google+ performs, which would be foolish.

So, conclusion to Assertion 2: Google+ is not going away, but the Google+ brand and how it is used by Google may change significantly.

Assertion 3: The Future Is NOT In Mega Social Network Platforms

Much of what I’m going to say here is building on an article by Mike Elgan titled “Why the Social Networks Are Falling Apart,” which you should read if you want to understand where all this is going now.

Mike’s article is quite cleverly titled. By “falling apart” he doesn’t at all mean that the major social networks are dying. Rather he’s commenting on their increasing move toward spinning off into developed or acquired apps that allow users to engage with one popular aspect of a network without having to get into all the other baggage that comes with the network as a whole.

An example of this would be the acquisitions of Instagram by Facebook and Vine by Twitter. Many pundits have been surprised that these apps haven’t yet been absorbed into their owner’s social networks.

But Elgan isn’t surprised at all. He says keeping these apps independent is a recognition by the Big Guys in social networking that an increasing number of users are shifting in two directions that actually complement each other: mobile and hyper-specific. (Note foursquare’s announcement yesterday that it’s splitting its functionality into two apps — including the newly-developed Swarm.)

Facebook was first to see this. Over the past two years, their users have shifted overwhelmingly to mobile. That created a real crisis for Facebook. Facebook has been entirely revenue-dependent on advertising inside their own platform, and mobile is notoriously advertising-averse.

At the same time, Facebook’s revenue model is perhaps even more threatened by another trend: the increasing move of users toward smaller, hyper-niche networks. Many users, and especially the younger set who are the future, seem to be increasingly wary of the “wide open” nature of big social networks. They just want to chat with their close friends, but the big networks tend to make conversations too open, pulling in all sorts of people they don’t necessarily want to interact with.

The first response of these networks was to offer audience segmentation options, such as Circles in Google+ or Friends Lists on Facebook.

The problem with such segmentation options, though, is that very few users ever use them. It’s just too much work to create all those circles or lists.

Furthermore, doing that doesn’t actually match up with the way we engage with people in the real world. Joe may be a co-worker, but he also may be a close friend. However, he may not be someone I want to talk politics with. In the terms of Facebook relationships statuses, “it’s complicated.”

So users are turning to micro-network apps such as Instagram, SnapChat, and WhatsApp for two reasons: they are entirely mobile, which is where more and more users spend most of their online time; and, they can easily be set up to engage one tight circle of friends.

Just this week at the F8 event, Facebook made several announcements moving in the many-apps and hyper-niche direction.

But how does acquiring or building these micro-network apps help the bottom lines of the mega social networks?

Elgan gives the answer in his article. It’s a realization that the real value of social networks to big companies like Facebook or Google isn’t in user engagement (not discounting that that is valuable), but in data acquisition.

To put it bluntly, those micro-networks become rich sources of user data acquisition that can be used to better target advertising in places other than the social network itself.

(In keeping with that, at the F8 event, Facebook also announced FAN, a mobile ad network that extends outside the Facebook platform.)

That leads me to my fourth and final assertion.

Assertion 4: Even If Google+ The Brand Has Failed, Google+ The Platform Has Been An Amazing Success

I don’t doubt that Google really wanted Google+ to succeed as a true social network. I certainly think that was Vic Gundotra’s dream. As much as some like to say, “Don’t look at G+ as a Facebook killer,” do we really doubt for a moment that Google wouldn’t have loved if it were?

Look at the first year ad campaigns for Google+ (see an example below). They basically came across as, “Hey, look, you can do everything on G+ that you do on Facebook, but with better privacy (Circles)!” Obviously, that wasn’t a big enough disruption for most people to make the shift.

Even if they believed that Google+ was better designed and really did make privacy more up front than Facebook, the Facebook momentum was too much to overcome. Many of us G+ evangelists made fun of the “but my friends aren’t on G+” mentality, but it honestly carried tremendous weight.

So why am I asserting that Google+ the project has been a resounding success? Because even if it never becomes a household-word social network, Google+ instigated a radical restructuring of Google that makes Google much better positioned for the future, in light of what we discussed above.

One Google To Rule Them All

Whenever I discuss the importance of Google+ to Google, I always come back to January 2012. That was when Google used Google+ as the “excuse” to unify its privacy policy. Until then, there was a separate privacy policy for each different Google product. Users wanting to use those products while logged in agreed to terms specific to that product only.

But in January 2012, Google made all users “re up” their privacy agreements. Now, users would agree to one overarching agreement, based on their Google+ profile, that would cover and unify all Google services.

For the user, that provided increased convenience. She could now sign in to Google once and then seamlessly use all Google services. Not only did she not have to log in and out again, but also her profile carried over into all services, making them more useful.

From Google’s side, the advantages were enormous. Within Google itself, users were incentivized to remain logged in, thus allowing Google to better collect and collate user data and behavior between services.

But that’s not all. The convenience of using Google logged in, combined with increasing opportunities to use websites and apps through a Google login, meant that more and more people were on the web logged in to Google all the time. And that made it much easier for Google to collect even more user data.

The unified privacy agreement also paved the way for “Search Plus Your World” personalized search. With more user data, and more people staying signed in to Google all day long, search could become much more personalized. In theory, this leads to better search results for the individual. That means a happier user who will use Google more, and thus be more exposed to Google ads.

But what else does Google do with all that data? The primary revenue-centered use is for targeting advertising. The more Google knows about your personal information, your preferences, your online behaviors, your location, etc., the more accurately they can serve up ads targeted to you, specifically.

And that’s where Google has a distinct advantage over Facebook and Twitter: the Google Ad Network. Not only can Google show hyper-targeted ads in Google properties like Search and YouTube, but Google also owns and runs the largest online advertising network in the world, with millions of sites displaying Google AdSense ads. As noted above, Facebook is beginning to build its own ad network, but it is starting from way behind.

So, Google+ became the catalyst not only to finally unify Google, but also to get a much larger amount of user accounts, while incentivizing users to log in to those accounts, thus providing user data that generates more ad revenue for Google.

From Social Network To User Data Service

For the past week, I’ve been face palming over my lack of foresight to understand a major clue about the future I’m proposing here — a clue that was staring me in the face for at least the past six months.

Here it is. Up until some time last year, when you would hear an official Google+ spokesperson speaking at a conference, he or she would speak about the advantages of Google+ the social platform for brands. You’d hear about how well you can engage your audience, and the glories of Hangouts for brand building and customer retention, etc. That all changed about six months ago.

More recently, all Google+ spokespeople seem to speak off the same talking points sheet, and it’s all about Google+ Sign In for webmasters and developers.

At the time, I railed about that. I thought “once again, Google marketing missing the point.” I was frustrated that they were failing to teach businesses what I had been teaching for two years: the incredible reach a brand could get by being active on the G+ social platform, particularly due to its influence into Search.

What I missed was that the shift in the conference talks was probably signaling the change in emphasis I’m talking about today. That is, Google was already strategically moving from pushing Google+ the social engagement platform to promoting Google+ the one-stop data miner for webmasters and app developers in relation to their users.

When webmasters/developers incorporate G+ Sign In, it’s a win-win for both them and Google. Both get access to — and the ability to manipulate — much deeper levels of user data and behavior. As I indicated above, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming months we see the G+ branding dropped from things like Sign In, as they may already be testing. But they could do that without dismantling anything they’ve already built with Google+.

Conclusion: Whither Goest Google+?

I’ve argued here that not only is Google itself maintaining they have no plans to dismantle or kill Google+, to do so makes no sense for them. However, a change or de-emphasis of the Google+ brand could benefit Google while doing no harm to the overall Google brand.

In this scenario, Google gets to have their cake and eat it too. They don’t lose face by killing a project that once was so big it is rumored that all Google employee bonuses hinged on it. At the same time, they continue to reap that project’s benefits while losing the weight its brand has become around their necks.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Google | Google: Critics | Google: Google+ | Social Media Marketing Column


About The Author: is Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting. His primary responsibility is building the online reputation of Stone Temple while testing strategies and tactics that will benefit STC clients. He has a special reputation as an expert on Google+ and Google Authorship.

Sign Up To Get This Newsletter Via Email:  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • 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.



Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!