Google + is the weird bar at the top of your browser that you started seeing this week. So what do you need to know about it? Well, for starters, that it exists, and that it’s actually a big deal. It’s Google’s latest attempt to get social right (and I think they have come close – making things easier to share, and getting people in the habit of sharing, requires some consistency, which Google can provide here). Google Buzz was a spectacular failure at launch. It made people nervous because of the weird privacy settings, and there is nothing quite like trying to get someone to use something after they have become wary of it. It just was bound to fail. Google + will make things easier to share with your friends (or, using the Google lingo, “Circles”). That’s a big win, and something to pay attention to if you are creating content.
Google + is a way for you to create groups, share content, chat, and search. All from the Google + bar. The bar will show across every Google site on the net (it’s being rolled out now so you may not see it everywhere). All of the features aren’t available yet to everyone, so if you just see a black bar that’s new, and no way to add people to Circles or Chats or Search, that’s because things are rolling out slowly. If you want to dive deep and get a ton more detail, check out the Tech Crunch article “Google + It’s Social, It’s Fun, It’s Bold, and It Looks Good – Now For the Hard Part.”
It will take some time before everyone is using it, but I am guessing this previously top secret endeavor will become part of our every day browsing experience.
From a marketing perspective, I love the way this was rolled out. No hype. No weird automatic opting in. It just showed up. Maybe they learned something from the Google Wave and Buzz launches. I think this will help with the hard part. People will slowly become aware of the presence of this new thing, become interested, seek out information on it, begin using it, and feel like they are on to something. Google can do this because they have staggering power/influence/reach.
What do you think? Have you started using it? Did you even notice it was there?