Within a few weeks of Google+'s launch this summer, there were a number of naysayers casually predicting the social network's eventual demise. In early August one blogger declared: “Among the tech crowd, buzz definitely isn't as high among the hundreds of sites I track.” This September the search-engine giant announced Google?+ had grown to more than 43-million users. This week, the service opened up to businesses, pushing its user base even higher.
As an avid Google+ user, I've always seen promise in Google's answer to Facebook. Although a senior executive at the company recently declared “Google, for us, is not a social network,” in my experience it is perhaps the most “social” of all the social networks.
If I want to watch YouTube videos, I can do a quick search within the platform and share the link in one quick click. I can also post stunning photos, do a live webcam “Hangout” with contacts, and put my different groups of people into tidy circles. If I want to flip over to a document I'm working on or check my calendar, it's all right there in the nav bar. While I realize that I'm a heavy user, the feedback I receive on a Google+ is often 10 times higher than any other social network. It took me just four months to get to the same size network that I only reached after almost four years on Twitter.
Now with brands on board, the service has even more potential to keep growing exponentially. Already, companies such as Pepsi, Toyota, and even The Muppets have jumped in. The experience isn't perfect, for example, when you find The Muppets page you'll quickly notice that there is no vanity URL. In other words, in the address bar you'll see a long string of numbers and letters instead of some memorable destination. Moreover, there is the problem of digital imposters. Since the verification methods aren't fully ironed out, it's possible that a few different accounts can exist for one business.
These problems are the familiar growing pains other popular social networks have faced. For now, the positives about Google+ Pages outweigh the negatives. From starting a live Hangout with customers to the eventual integration of Direct Connect for all Page owners (this means you will be able to add a business to your Google+ network from a simple Google search), there are plenty of reasons to get your company on board.
For many individuals and businesses I talk to, especially here in Canada, there is this “wait and see” attitude about Google+. Let me just say this: If you're keen on leveraging the power of social media platforms, there is really no point in waiting much longer to play in the G+ sandbox. Google+ is an easy-to-use network, and there are hundreds of millions more Google users who are potential converts. Sure, my Mom hasn't signed up (she is on Facebook), but I suspect it's only a matter of time before she starts +1'ing with the rest of us.