The first impressions are in. The overwhelming consensus is that Google+, the new social network and Facebook competitor is gaining traction and has the potential to be relevant in social networking on the web. In fact, these last few weeks have seen many updates and innovations from Google which are for the most part being well received.
Some of the Recent Innovations Since the Launch
First off, before I list the many innovations, it should be noted that in order to use Google+, you still need to be invited. In addition, even with an invite, sometimes Google+ reaches capacity and puts an invited person on hold until more users are allowed to join.
The Google + Button:
Just as Facebook has its Like button, so too does Google. The Google+ button is easy to add to any website or webpage. You can find the code at this link: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/
Google+ for Both Android Phones and iPhones:
For those that are mobile and want an easy way to keep connected on the go, Google now offers both for a free download- the Google+ app for Android phones and the iPhone. Both are fully functional and have received good marks from reputable tech sites on the web. It’s easy to download the apps by utilizing your smartphone’s app market.
Stream Customization and Huddle Permission:
Along with new products being introduced, Google also is actively fixing some bugs and adding customization such as stream customization and Huddle permission. Stream customization makes it easy to only receive streaming updates from those in your circle you want. This added customization makes it easy to turn down the information-noise either on your computer or phone and only receive info from those that matter the most. In addition, Huddle invites which can occur from those you least like to chat with can be irritating have now changed. You can now modify the permissions for who you want to huddle with- fewer interruptions and less annoyances. More information at: http://www.waleg.com/techgadgets/archives/023858.html
Google TalkBack Chat Badge:
Would you like to engage the visitors of your website or blog more easily? Google Talk- their Skype-like application available to all on Google Plus, now lets visitors from your website/blog chat with you easily. Obviously, you will need to be signed in to use this feature and there are many ways to customize it. Simply visit the following link for more information: www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New
Google News Badge:
In the US, Google News now offers a badge which you can earn by reading articles from Google News. You can start with a Bronze badge and move through silver, gold, platinum and ultimate. Google is touting it as a way to build authority on specific topics by showing others in your network that you have read a set amount of articles in a specific topic. www.googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/07/google-news-badges.html
For SEO/SEM Professionals
Google has stated in the past that they intend to put all of their resources into the new Google Plus social network. They want this to be a winner. So far, Google Plus has about 20 million users and is growing very rapidly. For those that are interested in leveraging social media, Google Plus is one product that needs to be watched closely. Social networks move at the speed of light and as we all know, Facebook which is the current leader can at any moment become less relevant to web users- it has already happened with many of the top web brands on the web and the history of the web for most is less than 15 years old. With the swiftness that Google+ is scouring the web, it is important that SEO and SEM professionals keep a tab on its recent events.