This morning I head over to Google UK HQ in Victoria to learn all about their newest family member, Google +.
Now although to us commoners it’s Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, by the sounds of what the head of Google +, Paul Coffey, had to say this wee newbie is more of a project than and platform… and by the end of this year it should seamlessly interlink all of Google’s sites. We’re talking Youtube, Maps, Search – you name it, if it’s on Google’s new taskbar, it will be interwoven into Google + matrix to make your search and general web experience 100% tailored to your interests and needs.
So, are they mind readers?
How can they possibly know what will 100% tailor our experience? Well, using the principal of Google + CIRCLES’ (i.e. Google’s ‘human’ way to separate your contacts – allowing you to share different elements of your personality with different people) posts, videos, comments, interactions etc etc., Google + posts search results and recommendations – think Youtube’s new home channel layout – that are interspersed with activity from your ‘circles’ as well (if deemed relevant to your search topic etc).
They think that a search that includes your circle’s own recommendations or comments, will offer results that are far more suited to your interests – on the assumption that your circles share the same common interests as you.
Now luckily for me – who’s not wholly sold by the concept yet – you can turn these suggestions on and off. However I do think with time, they will become far more useful as users’ circle networks grow and people start interacting more often.
Fancy Hanging Out?
The most exciting thing in my mind however, is the new Hangout facility. It’s like a suped-up version of Skype with the capabilities of allowing up to 10 people to simultaneously video chat together… for FREE. Currently, these video sessions are unrecorded and unsaved so once they are done, they’re gone. HOWEVER, Google are intending on developing Hangout On Air soon which will mean that no only can these video sessions be streamed live, but they will also be able to be watch by an unlimited audience. The participant numbers stay the same but the audience is infinite… and they can then be posted to your YouTube channel.
A great example of this was given to us with www.ChefHangout.com in the US which allows people to visit, buy an allotted cookery lesson via Paypal, log on at a specific time and have a fully interactive cookery lesson with a professional chef and up to 8 other people… the potential for brand interaction is endless once On Air hits…
What I took away from my visit?
Google + is here to stay. Seriously, this ‘project’ is only a few months old (it’s only been open to brands for about 3 months) and it’s already got some seriously cool elements.
Watch out for Hangouts. They will be all the rage come, say, summertime 2012. Once On Air hits, brands won’t be able to ignore it.
Start circling your networks now friends, the future for social looks a lot more organised and a LOT more interactive.
Google + accounts are free to sign up to, just head to - www.plus.google.com
Also if you’ve got a brand and want to create your own page, it now takes about 3 minutes.