Anyone with an ear to social media news will have heard about Vic Gundotra’s exit from his post as head of Google+ earlier this month. Shocking stuff! And when you combine this with reports of Google then reshuffling the core 1000 or so employees assigned to the division, techy types got themselves into a right old kerfuffle. “Well, that’s the end of Google+ then,” I imagined one of them saying. “I knew it couldn’t compete with Facebook,” said another fictional person.
Not wanting to be quite as hasty as these rash and completely made-up characters, I say the king of Google+ might have departed from his throne, but Google+ will continue to be a valuable tool that businesses must use to drive their SEO.
Questions and concerns about the future of the social media platform arose almost immediately. In fact, even before Vic had made his departure official the technology news website, TechCrunch, released an article entitled Google+ Is Walking Dead. I don’t think I need to explain that the premise of the piece wasn’t a particularly positive one.
Since Vic founded Google+ eight years ago, the social media platform has accrued a whopping 1.5 billion user accounts and around 540 million monthly users interacting with Google+ content in one capacity or another. This amounts to a hefty potential audience for any business with a G+ page.
It still remains true that growing your business’ Google+ following positively impacts on your Google ranking. So, just because Vic decided to sever his ties with the social network, doesn’t mean you should too.
Countering TechCrunch’s contentious article, the Chief Architect of Google+ Yonatan Zunger coolly offered his rebuttal: “Let me simply say that this entire TechCrunch article is complete bollocks.” So there.
Similarly, Google CEO Larry Page said in a slightly less abrupt manner that the company would “continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans”.
What does it mean for Google+’s future?
Basically, they’re pretty insistent that all is definitely not going south, even if the brains of the operation is out the door. Considering the company’s track record for binning unpopular ideas, namely Google Reader and Google Buzz, cynics could be forgiven for having misgivings over these claims of well-being.
However, it might benefit brands and business owners out there to take heed, as it’s seriously unlikely Google+ will be going anywhere. Thanks to the (some might say, annoying) requirement for users to integrate their G+ accounts to all the other Google-related functions – such as YouTube for example – Google+ has resolutely installed itself into the infrastructure of almost all of Google’s online products and services.
Vic Gundotra’s departure could indicate Google’s intention to pare back this hold their social network has over tools including YouTube and Gmail. What you may see is more freedom for advertisers and marketers to utilise marketing mechanisms independently of each other.
If the powers that be decide to do away with their universal login, you’ll be able to better focus on the particular social media activities that you decide are more relevant to your company, instead of having to use unnecessary platforms just because others won’t work to their full potential without them.
This is bound to reduce the amount of surplus accounts on the social network, streamlining its millions of users down to staunch companies keen to use it for valuable business networking purposes. If anything, Google+ is on its way to becoming more of an elite marketing space.
It can’t be denied that big changes are on the horizon for Google’s chief venture into social media, but everything suggests that these changes will increase its importance to business advertising. So, it could be wise to start paying more attention to how you implement Google+ within your content marketing strategy, not less.