Google fights to be social

Every business is inviting Social Media into their marketing plans and Google wants a piece.

When the idea of Google started in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin the idea was to develop a search engine that seamlessly organized an infinite amount of information on the web.  Over the years it grew into what today has dubbed itself a verb everyone uses “Google”.

I find myself saying “Google it” whenever there’s an answer to a question i’m unsure of.  It’s the default search engine on just about every browser i use, and the first thing i go to when i am trying to find out some information.  A lot of people including me have also adopted some of their other products such as Gmail.  But there’s one thing i don’t think of when i think of Google, and that’s Social Media.

Google’s attempt at being Social has been, well not so good.  Take Orkut for example, as of 2010 only 2.2% of Orkut users are from the United States.  It has only 100 million users worldwide,  48% of those users are from Brazil.  Compare that to Facebook who has 500 million active users, and 50% of those users log on every day.

Google Wave was announced in May 2009.  It was established to be part email, part twitter, and part instant messaging.  I personally thought the product was pretty neat when it came out, but it never did gain any traction and the project was closed in August 2010.

If Orkut was a thing of the past and Google Wave was something of the future, then Google Buzz is the Present.  Google Buzz was tied directly into the Gmail Platform, but because of this it was pushed on every Gmail user, and caused a backlash of unhappy users by being forced to use the product.  This prompted Google to send an apology letter out after lawsuits were filed.  This product hasn’t failed or been shut down, but it’s definitely not the top Social Media service out there.

Today Google is trying something new.  They’re trying to follow the trend of Being Social, but this time by developing tools to do so.  This new tool they’re offering just might be their ticket into the Social Scene.  The new tool is called “+1″ or “Plus One”.  Not a “catchy” name if you ask me, but it seems they’re keeping their naming simple.

Google Plus OneThe new service will put a “+1″ link next to each search result in Google.  This will allow users to create their own social network of friends and rank sites based on what sites they frequently visit.  The question will be whether developers and marketers accept this new service and adopt it like they have the “Like” button from Facebook, the “Share” button from Linkedin and the “Tweet” button from Twitter.

It’s hard to tell if this is going to be an experiment that gets canned in a year, or if it’s actually something that can help Google be Social. Only time may tell, but i sure do wish them luck.

Do you think this is going to be another flop, or something that might actually help Google be social?

Your partner in living a greener life,
Mark Lane
President Eco York, LLC