Archive for the ‘Google+’ Category


Google better organizes our world –and sells us back the experience

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Google IO 2013

Above Photo:  Google showcases interconnected screens at Google IO conference in SF.

By Chris Silva (cross posted) and Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analysts at Altimeter Group

Last year’s over hyped skydiving was replaced by down to earth by grounded product enhancements.

We’re live from the Google IO conference in SF with 6,000 developers, press, and media in San Francisco’s Moscone event center. We noticed a lot of Glass Explorer units (which surprisingly was barely mentioned in the keynote) we’ve purchased two to test, and will write up a detailed post on them after we’ve done a thorough test.

Today’s Google’s announcements were a wreck; a series of products flipping in front of you, rather than a well laid out showroom. To make sense of this patchwork set of announcements from a fragmented company, we’ve identified some top level trends:


Key Trends at Google I/O:

Products enhanced and interconnected –no major new products announced.

  • Google can coordinate across all of your screens, making multi-screen easier showing its ability to tie together all of your experiences across the Google-system.
  • Ironically, Google did not mention Google Glass. We believe this is because it was overhyped last year, failed to meet production deadlines this year.
  • Google+ had several enhancements including a new 3 column layout akin to flipboard, deeper content with flippable content cards, Hangout now extended to multiple browsers, Google+ profiles have improved sign on capability–but no adoption numbers were touted in this flailing social network.

Google is virtually replicating planet earth, but “improving” the quality.

  • Google maps is becoming a *Virtual World*. 3D experience with our uploaded photos. With virtual goggles like Occulus Rift you can walk through this virtual world, experiencing our world in just a few mouse clicks.
  • The company announced the ability to use more granular location to allow better targeting of mobile users with apps and offers, finally bringing the inherently local capabilities to mobile that we’ve been awaiting.
  • Retailers and hospitality should take note, Google maps now integrates photos of your stores from the inside. Internal decor matters to the search process.

Google knows what and who you love as we trade convenience for our data.

  • Google announced that they could identify highlights of top photos in your albums, they were able to identify important photos based on facial recognition of your family, grouping these as important. Google knows who your family is –and what’s important to your heart.
  • Google is becoming more like a media company, music streaming (Google All Access,) photo editing, magazine-ing of the G+ stream. “Google makes the world better with data.” Google+ becomes like a magazine,
  • Speech recognition across the desktop and mobile and bringing personal context to all of their services, doing things like making everyone’s view into maps personal, with their important landmarks highlighted.

What it means: An unsaid contract. Google better organizes our world –and sells us back the experience

The big takeaway is Google is trying to let consumers experience as much of your brand before they buy it, for examples a search user can experience the inside of your store, the reviews, the photos and find the fastest way there –before ever leaving their chair. As such, Google or their advertisers, may influence the purchase decision.

In mobile, It’s about the services, not the devices: While leading with mobile products last year to get people into their sandbox. In social the story focused on rich media differentiating the Google+ network and it became clear that social-first products like Hangouts and Google+ sign=in will make a broader play across more Google and non-Google products. , across data and search – whether maps or analytics – Google wants to up the ante in the tools it offers developers and, in turn, the companies and brands they empower.


The Pithy Bottom Lines:

  • For consumers, if you’ve bought into the Google ecosystem, expect the tools and products to get better but know you’re the product
  • For brands: If you want to play in Google’s sandbox, you’ll ultimately need to pay.
  • For Google Competitors: As Google has entered media, any industry is up for grabs; they may be your competitor and just not have announced it yet.

Google+ Has a Perception Problem

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Remember that smart kid who sat in the front of the class, but was ignored by the cool kids? That’s a good metaphor for what Google+ is going through.

I’ve heard from corporate social strategists I should be cautious about how much time and how frequently I discuss this nascent social newtork, and I spoke to media from a Tier 1 this week who said “does anyone even go there anymore? It seems like a wasteland”. Furthermore take this damning image which has been viewed 11k times suggests Google+ is filled with Google employees –and that’s about it. In fact, in our data on Super bowl ads, not a single ad by the world’s largest brand even mentioned Google+, an indicator of what the rest of the ads could look like for 2012 in this Facebook centric market.

Why Google+ suffers from a perception issue:

  1. Facebook IPO buzz leaves little room for Google. As analysts, we feel this quite heavily, in fact, we’ve been interviewed by many media about the Facebook IPO. in the last 30 days, I can recount on one hand a conversation with press and media about Google+
  2. Google+ doesn’t have the full backing of brands. Google+ Brand pages are substandard, forcing brands to double down on Facebook:  The brand pages lack a platform (although their recent partnerships indicate feature rich apps are coming) and their gaming network is limited.  Brands also are skittish to open yet another conversation area to manage and engage in, when resources are low.
  3. Strong growth numbers still dwarfed by Facebook, 16 to 1. Even with 60m members and growing, that’s less than 7% of Facebook’s 845m, despite making these big gains since Oct, this social network is still dwarfed by Facebook’s international spread.

To win, Google needs to focus on public perception beyond just building a platform. Google+ continues to integrate the social features with the newly updated homepage on Google.com and we should continue to see it span across their set of products now that they’ve consolidated their profiles which has caused privacy woes. Google knows they must make their social platform work, to meet the needs of the modern web, as advertising dollars shift to other social networks.  They must not only double down on building a successful platform for users, brands and their business model, but must also do proactive media, press and influencer outreach.

Related: Although Jesse Stay agrees (he runs social at a global org and wrote a book on Google+) John respectfully suggests my perspective isn’t reality.