Is Google+ Dead?

Well, not exactly. It’s more like a complicated break up.

And Google’s Bradley Horowitz is presiding.

Let’s start at the beginning. Several years ago, the idea folks over at the GooglePlex had two problems to solve.  First, they needed some sort of service that could compete with emerging social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  Secondly, they wanted a dashboard tool that could organize Google’s growing suite of applications in a way Google users could find easy and intuitive.

And, just like that, Google+ was born.

Well, it probably wasn’t that simple…but you get the idea.  Fast forward a few years, and here we are.  Facebook has nearly a billion users, Twitter is a public company, and most of us have yet to even hear about many of the apps Google offers.

Fail? Perhaps. Complicated…absolutely.

Google does several things well.  If you have been following the development of the Internet over the last two decades, you probably are aware.

Google’s search business remains unparalleled and shows no signs of slowing down. With all the money it makes everyday from search advertising, Google invests a ton of R&D money into projects that turn out really useful applications like Google Voice, Google Docs, Google Wallet, Google Maps…..the list really goes on and on.

So with all these successes, where did Google+ go wrong? I suggest a few reasons.

1) People don’t want another generic social network.  Whereas Google+ aimed to serve all, what people want is niche access.  Twitter is for news and interesting people, LinkedIN is for professionals and HR, Instagram is for photos…  Google+ is for everyone…not interesting.

2) Google tried to accelerate acceptance of Google+ with the influencer crowd by allowing Google+ participation as a means of influencing search rankings.  In other words, if you were a blogger in 2013, you’d better have a Google+ page populated with fresh content or you weren’t going to get found. People, especially writers, didn’t really appreciate this and Google went back to rating search results based on quality.

3) Most people don’t need all of what Google offers by way of apps.  So, Google+ as a application dashboard was limited by market size.  Even in 2015, most people only use their computers to search the internet for news, photos, and email. It will be a long while before the new generation starts using Google Hangouts, Google Voice and other tools to replace their phone and TV.

A worthy experiment…yes.  For folks like me who appreciated Google+ for what it offered for page rank improvement, Google+ was a lot of fun.  Using Google+, and later Google Author, to manipulate SERPs earned us clients that we continue to do business with today.

The bottom line is this.

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