By Cara Friedman BIG NEWS! Google made a bunch of significant updates to its properties. At Wednesday's announcement, the company shared that it would be making changes to a number of different products including new apps, Google maps, and Gmail. But as social media marketers, the news we were most excited about were those changes being made to Google +.
Google + now has FORTY ONE new features with the purpose of making it more user-friendly. At first glance you'll recognize that the design is inspired by Facebook, Pinterest, and even a little bit of the new Myspace. The platform has followed most other trends by becoming more visual; the Timeline-esque homepage leaves room for larger images and photo editing. You can even edit photos in order to create your own gifs. Pulling from another popular trend (and Twitter), Google + also now includes hashtags. In fact, Google will add relevant hashtags for you. Likely the most relevant update to note is the launch of the Hangout app. Hangouts have arguably been Google +'s biggest edge against its competitors. Now it's mobile-friendly with a new app available on Android and iOS.
Does It Matter?
I'm not quite sure yet. The fact is: no matter what numbers Google is reporting, people aren't using Google +. The majority of big brands that invest in social don't spend any time or money on the platform. When asked why, they'll tell you: "because our audience isn't there." No matter how cool you make a platform, if the customers aren't there, no brands will be there either.
What The Future Holds
New networks pop up all the time, and every so often they stick. It's not impossible to break through the Facebook monopoly on our attention, but for some reason, Google still can't get it right. The updates really ARE user-friendly and appealing, but unless they can drive real traffic and interaction, Google+ may end up in the Google graveyard.
Are you a huge fan of Google + and think I'm completely crazy? Let me know in the comments!