While I was running today I was thinking about some of the near ambivalence being shown toward Google+ outside of the over active geek crowd. I was wondering when Google was going to open the floodgates to let anyone in because the longer they wait the less likely people are going to care to join.
Well, little did I know that today was indeed the day that Google+ would be opened to the public and this should be interesting. The announcement comes from the Google blog
For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal. We’re nowhere near done, but with the improvements we’ve made so far we’re ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.
The 99th feature that appeared just before this was about the search feature which many have been clamoring for. This was a glaring omission in the service considering who Google is. We’ll see just how well they have been able to figure out search for the social world they are creating.
You’ve been asking for it, and we’ve been busy building it, so today we’re bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web.
If you’re into photography, for example, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great pictures. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news.
With more than 1 billion items shared and received every day, we’re excited to see how search will connect people through their posts on Google+.
There are other features that have been rolled out around Hangouts and my recommendation is that you visit the blog post to get the details.
As for Google+ being open to everyone? This will tell an awful lot about whether this service has any legs. Of course, announcing this right before Facebook’s f8 conference is part of the gamesmanship that continues to go on between Google and Facebook but that’s just a distraction. Oh and Google will be making an appearance this week in Washington, DC regarding claims of anti-trust activities. What better way to take away from that chatter by saying you are just trying to compete with Facebook who owns social media.
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Another thing I was thinking during my run was just who would get involved in Google+ once everything was opened to the public. Honestly, I had a hard time imagining many “regular” people making the jump to Google+ from Facebook because the “upgrades” are really more geek friendly than anything else.
I think Google would be best served rolling out a well thought out and developed strategy for businesses on Google+ because people will follow brands and that could be the real impetus for someone to at least explore Google+ as a social media option. If there is a Google+ sticker in all businesses that people go to then they will figure they should be there or they may be missing something. On their own, however, I am not convinced we will see people moving to Google+ in any real numbers.
Of course, it is WAY too early to have any real idea of what will happen. Anything thought or said right now is speculation so it’s about as valuable as the bits and bytes it takes up.Doesn’t mean we won’t be busy predicting the success or imminent failure of the one service that could put a dent in Facebook.
So what do you think? Will Google pull this off?