Brafton recently revealed that of all social networks, Google+ drives the least referral traffic to companies’ online content, but that hasn’t stopped Google from adding new features to improve its social platform. The updates could potentially attract new user demographics that are heavily involved in digital content curation, as they are aimed at enhancing visual sharing features, from Hangouts and photo effects to videos.
These features were unveiled at a recent G+ event (and then outlined in an Official Blog post). It’s becoming clear marketers can gain SEO benefits via active Google+ participation (e.g. faster web content crawling), but there would be much more at stake if the network successfully garners the support of larger consumer audiences.
Without further ado, the new G+ features:
1. Location sharing, which enables participants to send maps of their locations in real-time.
2. SMS sharing, so users can send and receive texts without switching applications.
3. Animated GIFs that display and play in-line.
4. Scheduled Hangouts On Air to help broadcasters plan and promote live, streaming events.
5. Dedicated watch pages for live events.
6. Control rooms that allow moderators to mute or eject participants during live events.
7. Full-screen video calling on mobile and desktop devices.
8. Automatic webcam lighting enhancements to fix lighting issues for better presentations.
9. Full-size backups for photos taken on iOS devices.
10. Full-size background sync for photos taken on iOS devices.
11. Photo search by subject, allowing users to find images of “sunsets,” “rainbows” or “Virginia Tech” because Google+ can recognize objects in photos.
12. Dial up or down auto enhancements to customize auto fixes applied to photos uploaded into G+.
13. Album exemption allows users to skip certain photo folders for auto enhancement if they are using another photo editor.
14. HDR Scape filter to edit photos on the go.
15. Analog Efex Pro is a paid program that makes seamless photo enhancements.
16. Action applies a strobe light effect to series of still photos.
17. Eraser can identify and remove background images.
18. Movie automatically allows users to turn photos, videos and music into customized digital films with visual effects and transition.
Assuming that Google+ manages to captivate untapped audiences with these new features, marketers may want to start paying more attention to the conversations taking place across the platform.
So far, the majority of brands have approached G+ tepidly, opting to invest in more popular (yet saturated) channels like Facebook. However, the search engine-owned network grows, businesses will need to figure out whether their prospects actively use it and how it can be leveraged to share web content and deliver effective brand messaging. This seems to be working already, according to Brafton‘s coverage of a simultaneous announcement from Google revealing the site’s membership is rapidly growing.