Speculating on the Future
The reason I think that Google+ is the next big thing has less to do with the previous information and much more to do with speculating on where things might go. Google, over the past many years, has created several applications that don’t exactly line up logically. I think that with Google+, there is a huge potential to link together some of the disparate things, which can create some useful business applications from that linkage. Following are a few thoughts along those lines:
- Google Places enables businesses to add more information to search results. Integrating Google Places data into a Google+ business page means that your customers and prospects can have more information built into search results from Google, which can drive more potential discovery.
- Google Docs is a decent collaborative application, enabling you to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. Adding the communications, sharing, and distribution powers of Google+ to Google Docs means that in-company workflow and collaboration has a new powerhouse tool.
- Google Calendar added event functionality on top of its existing meeting, appointment, and task functionalities. Posting events as a business inside of Google+ enables integrated scheduling and improved findability of events that matter to your prospects.
- Google Checkout is Google’s payment solution, which competes with PayPal and Amazon Payments, to name a couple. Integrating payment management into Google+ would permit businesses to execute transactions inside this social network without requiring the user to leave the Google+ ecosystem. (People might be more likely to complete a transaction that stays inside the social network.)
- Google’s Android mobile platform has many location-aware features, where your Google searches take into account where you’re located, and Google+ is built to accept, post, and share location data. Commerce and marketing options are huge in this “buy where you are” system. This isn’t so much speculation because the tools are already in place. It’s just up to you to use them as such.
- Google Analytics integration with business pages on Google+ means that not only do you understand the analytics of your primary websites, but now you also have visibility into how people on this social network find your information and what they do with it. This improves your ability to move people toward what they want, not only on your primary website, but also on this social network.
- YouTube is already integrated with Google+. As the #2 search engine, this should be interesting to you. Take it a bit further and you can see that using YouTube as part of your business communications and marketing efforts is a powerful tool when coupled with the sharability and social aspects of Google+.
In speculating, risks always exist. I’m not good at predicting the future—to be quite honest. However, because Google has built dozens and dozens of properties that don’t immediately go well together, and because Google+ looks more and more like a potential “communications backbone” to all these various touch points, I think there are some big opportunities to consider, and those who are early to use and master Google+ can be best positioned to take advantage of these potential futures as they arise.