With the recent starting and stopping of products on the Google platform, a question that pops up online and offline discussions is whether or not G+ is really here to stay. There are murmurings in discussions about the existence of this social media platform in years to come.
Most of us are used to the fact that Google offers products and services and then removes them (or removes features). The “change factor” is something that we are accustomed to, in this fast-paced internet world we live in, but Google tends to really do it well when it comes to removing products and services. One of the most recent was the removal of Google Ripples and the announcement of YouTube Collections which were then removed in what, less than a month?
We polled some people, below and asked them various questions related to G+ and their predictions on the matter. There were some interesting answers, especially from those who consider themselves more active users of the platform. There are many who answer the question of the ups and downs in Googleland with a logical response and reminder that the platform belongs to Google and is used by the masses (not the other way around, as sometimes we behave).
In the following section, you will find out a) how active the interviewee is (to give context to their response); b) what G+ features (or Google products) they like the best; c) their prediction of the future of G+; d) a short bio on who they are.
The activity label is based on 1-2 posts per day (or week) being defined as Casual use and multiple posts or engagements each day being classified as Active use. There is also a category of “moderate use,” which has been blended into the casual. In doing that, the active users who would be considered “power users” of the Google+ platform are classified separately from the rest.
Active User of G+: I’m an active Google Plus user. I post several times on most days, and sometimes to several Google Plus Communities related to blogging, business, and writing.
Favorite Feature(s): I like the Communities best. They get me as much interaction on my money posts as my general timeline, and certainly are more targeted, as an audience.
Prediction / Insights: I don’t think Google Plus is going anywhere, if for no other reason than because so much is tied up in it and it’s a great way for Google to keep tabs on everybody. That being said, the level of confidence I have in my own prediction might be a little higher if somebody at Google would make a nice, clear statement. Hint, hint.
|David is the president of THGM Writers group. The group writes and they promote. He loves nature and living simply.|
Casual User of G+: When G+ launched, I was pretty excited about it, and secured an early invitation. I guess I was reasonably active at one point, but I’ve really lost interest in it and nowadays will only post very infrequently, or occassionally login to +1 or comment on a suggested post. I find Facebook and Twitter (dependent on the niche) to be a much more productive use of my time.
Favorite Feature(s): I generally love Google products and use gmail and Google drive for pretty much everything, but G+ itself doesn’t really offer me anything I can’t get elsewhere. I get much more bang for my time elsewhere. When authorship was looking like it was going to be a big part of search, I was a big advocate, but now (for me personally) it just seems pretty pointless. I know others have had great success on the platform, but I guess with any social network you get back what you put in and I just feel I’m better spending my time elsewhere.
Prediction / Insights: I think it will be gone soon, or at least fully split up into different apps. It’s just never got any traction, at least not with the Internet marketing community. Again, I am sure there will be plenty who will disagree with me here and are having great success. The thing is, I don’t think Google themselves really knew what is was when they launched, probably just wanting to jump into the social network game and perhaps slow the growth of Facebook.
Casual User of G+: I would consider myself a casual user of Google+ although when actively trying to promote certain content I may become more involved in the communities in the hope of driving traffic
Favorite Feature(s): The communities are really great. It is very easy to find active communities who are full of like-minded folk posting and discussing great content. Whatever your niche, there is bound to be at least one active community on Google+.
Prediction / Insights: The warning signs are suggesting that we will be waving goodbye to Google+ before too long. The recent split of the platform into two new services (photos and streams) would suggest its time has come to an end. I think one of the main issues is that people never really bought into it the way Google would have wanted.
|Graeme Watt is a part of a full service digital agency based in Glasgow, Scotland. One that specializes in web design, development, apps, eCommerce, and digital marketing.|
Casual User of G+: I am loyal to Google Plus. I consider myself a casual user of Google Plus, as I spend most of my time on Facebook and Twitter. Still, I strongly believe that Google Plus has a good impact on branding and improving the social media presence of any website, blog, or online business.
Favorite Feature(s): My favorite feature on Google Plus is it’s reshare button. This has helped my article(s) to get reshared by my followers and those who love to read my articles. This also boosts the social media presence of my site, eAskme, whic is really necessary in order to gain more followers and to build a strong brand image.
Prediction / Insights: I don`t think that Google Plus is at any tisk of being on the chopping block soon. There are chances that Google can turn this into a bigger platform but I don`t think they are going to completely remove it as it is one of the imporatnt social networks for professionals, online marketers, bloggers, and webmasters.
|Gaurav Kumar (also known as makone) is the founder of eAskme. He is also a professional blogger, writer, web designer, and relationship advisor.|
Casual User of G+: We use Google Plus on a casual basis, with one or two posts a week. We don’t get that much traction, as there are significantly less users than what you would find on networks such as Twitter. However, in terms of SEO its a great network to be on for sharing your content.
Favorite Feature(s): The submission tool is great because you can include links, albums, standalone photos and customise it to be a public or private message. This saves having to navigate around the site to communicate with other users. It keeps everything in one place.
Prediction / Insights: Google Plus will not be around for much longer if it continues along the same trajectory as it has been. It’s not as fresh or relevant as other networking sites and will flounder next to Facebook as Zuckerburg keeps collaborating with other networks and offering his users a customer experience like no other site.
|Pollyanna Ward is a part of the SoBold agency. SoBold is an online marketing consultancy focused on delivering revenue generation, new business leads, and product awareness for their clients.|
Casual User of G+: I’d consider myself a very casual user, when it comes to G+. I use it maybe once a week to ten days. It’s good for certain things, but I wouldn’t use it nearly as much as other networks
Favorite Feature(s): I like that Google+ is integrated so tightly with a lot of the other Google products that I use and find this is something that’s very positive about the Google suite of tools, as a whole.
Prediction / Insights: I certainly couldn’t say with a completely honest heart that I believe Google + will be around in 18 months. According to a lot of opinion it’s likely the Google+ functionality will be cut in the near future.
|Cormac Reynolds describes himself as an SEO, content marketer, and social media maestro.|
Active User of G+: I’m definitely an active “engager” on Google+. Some of my best online business relationships have formed on Google+. I post, comment, and +1 multiple items on Google+ on a daily basis.
Favorite Feature(s): My favorite feature on Google+ is Hangouts. It’s so easy to start or join a Google+ Hangout, and the value that you get from participating in one definitely pays off in the end.
Prediction / Insights: I think Google+ is here to stay, although I’m sure that it will continue to evolve as Google learns what works vs. what doesn’t work in regards to Google+.
|Brandon Schaefer specializes in social media marketing, SEO, local search, and finding funding help for entrepreneurs.|
Casual User of G+: I am a sub-casual user of G+. I have a profile but only post every few months. The reason for this inactivity is because my account was penalised 2 years ago after someone reported me for spamming (which obviously was untrue).
Favorite Feature(s): I like the G+ Communities, both because they are easy to set up and because they are simple to use. The notifications to Gmail are useful.
Prediction / Insights: I think G+ will die and die suddenly. It has not been taken up by mainstream users, only marketers and probably makes Google little, if any, revenue.
|Phil Turner describes himself as a 62 year old man who has seen a lot of life. He has been online since the beginning of the Internet and blogging for most of that time.|
Casual User of G+: I believe I would consider myself a casual user of G+. I post here and there when I remember, perhaps 1-3 times a week. It’s a shame on me because G+ is an amazing tool to use.
Favorite Feature(s): My most favorite thing about G+ is that it is so much easier to connect with people with similar interests than it is doing so with any other social media platform. It’s so much easier to meet new people because of that, which means your circle of friends for personal users and your clientele for professional users, is always expanding.
Prediction / Insights: The future for G+ is something only the geniuses at Google would know for sure. I believe their past products, such as Buzz, Circles, Ripples, and so on were the test blocks to what eventually became G+ today. With that said and with the pattern we’ve already seen, it could be possible that G+ is a test for an even larger product.
|Dana Sibilsky is an art blogger. When she is not blogging, she spends her time in photography, Adobe Photoshop, painting, sketching, innovating, and interviews.|
Active User of G+: Editor’s Note: It appears that Irina is an active user of G+ and other Google products. At the least, she is a fan, based on her responses.
Favorite Feature(s): I did a test where I moved a post on ‘Social SEO facts’ to the number one spot of Google.com within 2 days; I then did a quick video on it, leveraged that using Google+, and that is sitting top 5 in YouTube for the term ‘Social SEO’.’ We have hundreds of examples of how to use Google+ to improve Search results.
Prediction / Insights: The future then, is for Google+ to continue to be your digital identity within the Google ecosystem. And a place for you to connect with people, engage on content in the Stream. Google Plus remains a unifying layer throughout Google’s products and services. This, however, is almost forgotten as the integration is complete and billions of people simply use Google logged into Chrome/Android/Gmail/YouTube etc, every day.
|Irina describes herself as a marketing specialist, blogger, guest writer, and social media expert.|
Casual User of G+: I would say I’m only moderately active on G+.
Favorite Feature(s): The best investment of our time on Google Plus is participating in communities, and in the “Entrepreneurs, Self Employed, and Small Business community” with 70,803 members, to date, in particular.
Prediction / Insights: Yes, with their history, I believe any Google product is at risk of being discontinued at any time. Poor usability and profile links that are impossible to remember severely detract from using G+ on a regular basis.
|Frequent Guest and Co-host Guest on #VCBee Guest on #blogengage Regularly attend #vcbuzz #myblogu #weddbar #socialcafe #blogchat Often attend #dadchat #atomicchat and others Wrote about the difference between Twitter chats and Twitter parties. Often co-host officially or unofficially. Go out of my way to promote Twitter chats for others and teach people to use them.|
The general consensus (with exceptions, of course) is that there is not an expectation that Google Plus will be around years from now, at least not in the form that it is now. That is based on the history that people have experienced with Google products.
It is interesting that even those who would be considered heavier or more active users would also share in that opinion. Those that love the platform think this way as well as those who are casual users, demonstrating that there is not a direct correlation between usage and prediction of the future and that the predictions are based more on a historical view than a feeling of like or dislike of the product.
There is also a common theme that Google Plus is an effective product for SEO (as opposed to social media marketing alone) and that people generally like how well it is tied into the other Google products. There seems to be a common thinking that pulling up Google Plus to engage on the platform is not as intuitive as Facebook or Twitter, but that once you are there, it is pretty easy to facilitate what is needed.
People tend to agree that Google Communities is one of the best aspects, leading us to conclude that the relationship building (and discussion), as well as the SEO benefits, float to the top of the list, along with the Google integrations.
And, it has been stated well that we can make predictions, but no one really knows except Google. The common sense approach that is gleaned from the responses would be that we should continue to incorporate Google Plus, to some level, as internet marketers, but not to get too attached, just it case it goes away. But, then, maybe that is good advice for any platform on the Internet, understanding that what is here today may be gone tomorrow, so make the most of it while it is available.