Google has unveiled its Google+ project – a new service that could integrate Google search with a social experience. SEO and social marketers might see this as a chance to bring more advocacy to their online content. Should Bing and Facebook be worried?
The Google+ project is still in its trial period, and only select users have access. (You also need to have a Google profile to access Google+, and Brafton reported earlier this month that the company was pushing for people to create their profiles with a “Me on the Web” service…)
While the project is still somewhat ambiguous, it’s clear that content sharing is a main factet of Google+. Google Circles – rumored from last winter – are part of Google+, with the company explaining that the Circles feature lets people classify social connections because “sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle.” This sounds a bit like Facebook Groups.
Local marketers may like the Google+ Hangouts service; the feature lets users start web chats where they indicate where they are hanging out to see “who stops by for a face-to-face chat.” This may integrate with Google Places listings, which Brafton has reported are key to local search traffic, anyhow. Hangouts also lets users mention who they’re with (a la foursquare or Facebook Places).
There might also be marketing opportunities in Sparks – a service that notifies Google+ users of “stuff it thinks you’ll like, so when you’re free, there’s always something for you to watch read or share.”
In addition to sharing web content (and promoting it via +1s), Google+ also promotes user-generated content Users to publish instant uploads – photos, videos, etc – to share with friends. It also offers Huddles, which offers group chat (something Facebook currently lacks).
It will be interesting to monitor Google+ adoption levels, as the company is positioning it to be an internet game-change (“real-life sharing rethought for the web). At press time, Google says it has already exceeded its capacity for trial Google+ users.
It’s clear this is the fruition of Google’s longstanding effort to get in the social market, and it remains to be seen whether this development will knock the Bing/Facebook Friend effect search features out of the water. (Bing hinted at SMX Advanced that its social integration was core to the development of the search engine.) Either way, search marketers will want to be ready for potentially more social layers to their SEO efforts.