Google’s Vic Gundotra announced his departure and his baby, Google Plus, will inevitably become the “walking dead.” That’s a one-sentence summary of the Tech Crunch article that sent Google+ fans into a frenzy, fearing that the product would become a platform and end its competition with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. A Google representative, who stated that the news of Gundotra’s departure would have no effect on Google+ whatsoever, denied this claim. With David Besbris being chosen to fill Gundotra’s shoes, we believe the Google representative’s statement—Google+ is alive and well. Here’s why:
Google Plus Stories and Other Updates
Google recently announced a new tool that would essentially create a digital scrapbook of all of your best vacation photos, and the new feature is called “Google+ Stories.” According to Mashable, the tool will be able to automatically find the best photos from your library, tag your photos with city names, and display the names of different hotels, restaurants and airports you visited (if you’ve backed up your photos and videos on Google+ after returning from your trip). As long as Google+ continues to add new tools and update existing features that are user favorites, it doesn’t seem likely that Google+ is coming to an abrupt end.
The SEO advantages that Google+ offers, such as Google authorship markup and Google Author Rank Integration, also make it unlikely that the site will just die out. Using Google Authorship markup and linking your Google+ page to your content means that your headshot and profile stats will show up in Google’s search results pages next to the content you have written. Having your profile picture show up next to your content in the search results has been shown to draw more readers in, and it’s also an important feature for personal branding. If someone is following you on Google+ and they search for a term, your content will be more likely to appear within their search results—especially if they have interacted with you previously.
Back in 2012, Google changed their privacy statement so that users only need to login once to use all Google services, rather than having to login for each individual one. Not only was this more convenient for the user, but it also gave Google better insight into user behavior between services. With users constantly being logged in to Google, it became much easier to collect user data. Google uses this data to specifically target ads to their users, and with the largest online advertising network in the world, this is where they have an advantage over Facebook and Twitter.
Google+ may not have picked up as much of a following as Twitter and Facebook over the past three years, but it still has a loyal following thanks to its range of tools. Sure, having Gundotra walk out the door could result in some big changes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the nail in the coffin for ol’ Google+. Change doesn’t always have to be bad, and with Besbris taking things in his own direction, a little change might be exactly what Google+ needs.