Google+ is getting a lot of attention right now due to the “rivalry” between Google and Facebook, which is heavily partnered with Microsoft. Social Media Strategist Caroline Melberg feels that the site will be beneficial at some point in the future, but it might take some time. “I think it is a bit too early for most businesses to jump into Google+ as the jury is still out on how participation will ramp up, but if it happens like I think it will, Google+ will become the first real social-business networking site,” said Melberg.
While it definitely is a “social” site, it looks like the aspect that most people are missing about Google+ is that it’s really a play into cloud computing, making document sharing, calendar sharing and file sharing across all devices easier.
Back around 1997 or so, when Bill Gates was testifying in his antitrust lawsuit with Netscape (remember them?) he said that Microsoft Windows/Office was on the verge of obsolescence at any given moment because in “the future” we won’t install software on our computers or even require a computer – just an Internet enabled device.
Everyone thought he was nuts at the time, but he was right – and the future wasn’t 50 years down the road…it is happening now. By the end of this year, smartphones will account for 50% of all cell phones in the US. “The cloud” has entered popular vernacular, and of course, the tablet market is going strong as well.
Melberg has recognized Google for upping the competition. “Not only does Google see the social opportunity, they are taking it one step further by integrating connectedness with their current suite of business applications, making sharing large files a snap,” said Melberg.
Long term, Facebook may find Google+ to be competition. Shorter term, Microsoft (Office, Windows), Apple (App store), companies like YouSendIt, and cloud back-up/storage companies like Carbonite, DropBox, etc. have more to worry about.
Google needs to work a few bugs out yet and to launch business pages. Google+ also needs to be made available to their business-level premium customers, who pay $50/year per user for Google apps, which includes email hosting. Once that happens, and business people start to see how easy sharing files and calendars is, as well as learn about Google’s extensive list of business applications that compete with Salesforce CRM, etc., expect Google+ use to explode, just like hosted gmail premium has exploded in the business community already.
Bottom line, we’ll be keeping a close watch on Google+ to see how it develops for business.