Where is Google+ at nowadays. Barely a year after its launch in Summer 2011, Bradley Horowitz, President product management at Google gave us an overview of where they are at and where they are heading … and evaded a few questions too ! [this post was originally written live from Le Web 12 in London on behalf of the live.orange blog]
“Google search had a very short-lived memory and Google+ has been introduced to change that. Google+ is helping us understand our users betters and provide better services to them” Horowitz said as an introduction. As a proof of how Google wants to improve the user experience of its social media platform, he pointed out that Google Local has been made a part of Google+ for a couple of weeks. “The idea is for Google to improve existing services by enhancing them with the power of sharing”.
“We recognise being late to market”
When pressed with questions by Loic Lemeur, he replied: “We recognise being late to market but this offers opportunities to do things differently and enable users to have different kinds of discussions with different kinds of users”.
[Google’s Bradley Horowitz live on stage at Le Web 12 in London]
The strategy is not to have people wishing happy birthday”. What we have is hangouts. “Every kind of user, from music artists to politicians are using hangouts” he said. This is a differentiator and we are only getting started. A very effective demonstration of a live hangout was delivered introducing participants in a multicast presentation from all around the world (Canada, US, UK and France) and remote users were able to ask questions to Bradley Horowitz who answered them. In essence, this isn’t very different from traditional Web conferencing as it has existed for over 10 years, but the fact that it is linked to a social platform should “change the world for users to interact in the same way that Youtube did” Horowitz added
[a live demo of a Google+ hangout at Le Web 12 in London]
“170 million users have upgraded their accounts, have updated their profiles. Getting 200 million users in just eleven month is a real challenge and we will be announcing new numbers soon and they are really good”, Horowitz said. “our best days are ahead of us”. One example of the good things they have introduced are the mobile clients which were launched on IOS and Android, more graphical and much more emotional. This has led to a dramatic increase in mobile usage (but no precise numbers were given despite Loic Lemeur’s insistance). Similarly, the number of actual users wasn’t unveiled by the Google exec.
“We have tried to compress a decade of social networking into 11 months! and now I am “happy to announce that Google is opening to another partner “Flipboard” and it will be opened as soon as it is safe for our users and is debugged” the Google exec added. But “we are admittedly moving cautiously” he added, before taking this to the next level.
Sonia Carter from Kraft Foods explained how they are using Google+: Chocolate is the main subject, but also sponsorships that the brand is involved in, because they realised “that people were already talking about this”. Bonin Bough who runs advertising for Kraft foods explained that the introduction of social media wasn’t about the shifting of budgets but the shifting of mindset.