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The great debate: Google Plus- now what?

Remember when Google was forcing new users to sign up to Google Plus? Well those days are over. We asked the Resolution MENA content team about their thoughts on that.

Should Google shut down its social ‘experiment’?

Adrian Turcsan – Associate Director, SEO

“From my perspective, there is absolutely no question about this. Google should keep and develop its G+ social media platform, as it gives customers and brands an opportunity to connect and interact with each other in a way no other social platform can. The service has become a much more complex, interconnected system rather than just a simple, social platform, with integration to Hangouts, Maps, Chrome, Play, Gmail and YouTube. If Google can leverage these the right way moving forward, it has huge potential to become the most successful social platform, even if it is currently struggling to reach a critical audience size. From an SEO perspective, brands can greatly benefit from the G+ service, whether small or large, with enhanced search engine visibility. That’s why we build a significant part of our optimization offerings around G+. We believe in the usefulness and future potential of this relatively new social platform.”

Khaled Sharrouf – Manager, Content

 “There is no doubt that Google has infiltrated our lives nowadays in more ways than we actually realize. This means that when it comes to social, Google’s entry into the playing field should have been easy. Unfortunately, G+ wasn’t the answer. In order to answer the question on whether G+ should be taken out of its misery, let’s take a step back. It is a big challenge going up against a giant platform, like Facebook, especially with its large user base. While G+ may have been a genius product, it had very poor timing. Facebook was at its prime and wasn’t going anywhere. That is not the case anymore. Facebook is plateauing, and the platform is looking into segmenting its huge community. They are experimenting with apps such as Facebook Moments, which facilitates sharing with smaller groups of people. While this move seems to take inspiration from G+ (i.e. sharing within circles), Facebook only moved in that direction after achieving a certain critical mass. While we can’t be sure how this potential direction will materialize for Facebook, I believe that Google should abandon ship. Time has made us realize that there is little value in nurturing a platform designed to dissect large groups of people into smaller circles. This is especially true when there aren’t large groups of people available there to start with. Google does have a large following somewhere else, and that’s what they need to capitalize on. They should tap deeper into their popular products (like Gmail, YouTube etc.), innovating ways to connect people and further socialize the experience. Google needs to focus on creating a grassroots social media community that is not necessarily defined by a URL or newsfeed.”

Farah Kachlan – Senior Executive, Content

“Every time I see a ticker with the link to a G+ account on major regional sites, I think “Really? Why?” There aren’t that many users there. Most brands use G+ to get better visibility from search. Do they add any value to the users’ online experience? Not really. Due to lack of interaction on the platform, brands do not invest in a special content strategy just for it. As a result, they don’t have a special content calendar for G+, and all they do is mirror the content they post on Facebook. Google needs to incentivize brands to use the social platform. Unless they are given a solid offering, one that provides the same value other platforms do, Google+ will never develop the same popularity. Bearing that in mind, I think they should put an end to G+.”

Ola Alami – Senior Executive, Content

“When one looks at it, there is very little difference between G+ and other social platforms. Being the late comer, the platform was at a huge disadvantage. Aside from search visibility, brands haven’t really invested time and energy in the platform after seeing very low engagement rates. Other platforms have offered higher, more engaging interactions as well as sophisticated targeting and analytics. Google should consider retiring it but there could be hope for it yet. By re-purposing it, there could still be life in the platform.”

Mohammed Chehab – Content Producer

“I would argue against retiring G+. Right from its inception, G+ was an answer to the wrong question, “How do we overcome Facebook?”. However, this proved to be impossible. Now is the time to fade G+ into the background. It’s time to rethink what it is, its potential, and how this platform can best serve the overall digital strategy of Google. For example, since G+ is tied to many of Google’s products, it could be an indispensable tool that acts as a central user data collection hub across web, mobile, wearables, cars, and in the future, homes.  For me, it’s a question of purpose.”