Social networking as a business has been evolved from connecting with friends on Friendster, building groups on MySpace to creating communities on Orkut and then to another world like Facebook which has set many social networking standards.
Strategy: I always say Facebook renovates and Google innovates, meaning Facebook has done vertical integration or growth by building various features into single product, but Google is about acquiring new trends and doing a horizontal growth with multiple product lines.
But now with the launch of Google Plus, it seems they have built a product which can work on Vertical growth strategy like Facebook. Even though Google has started it as an invite only launch but they surely will use the PUSH Strategy soon to divert the users to the Google Plus.
Why Google Plus:
Unlike Facebook or twitter where your content is searchable on internet, Google plus will have more secured networking features. Furthermore the Google already have a large user base on the products like Gmail, Orkut, Picasa or Picnik; the integration of it will create ease for users to easily adopt Google Plus as their friends will be some-how connected to it.
Will Google Plus Lead to Orkut Minus?
Orkut is not dead yet. It still as popular in countries like Brazil. So, what will be the Google strategy for Orkut now? Will they stop it or will they keep both social networking platforms running simultaneously? It seems awkward to have your two products competing with each othersL. Or will they migrate all the Orkut users to Google Plus? May be its feasible as Google Plus offers almost all features of Orkut.
Will Google Plus also have ‘Online Gaming’ as Facebook (Mafia Wars, Farm Ville etc)?
I personally don’t think so. I differentiate Orkut (and hence Google Plus) and Facebook by two simple words. Orkut is about ‘Social Networking’ and Facebook is about ‘Social Browsing’. Orkut had a defined purpose of networking whereas the Facebook has changed it to Social Browsing, where the purpose is not defined. To make it simple, let’s look at it like this I open facebook and then decide what to do now? To see the pictures, play the games or to try different apps.
Like Orkut, Google Plus may also keep the Social networking away from Social browsing. Hence they might keep features which are networking relevant only.
Effect on Advertising:
Google PPC is one of the most used online advertising platform. The Facebook entered as a Social Media Marketing Tool and introduced Facebook adverts with more targeted advertising based on user interest, age etc. Since engagement of users on Social networking sites are more, the impact of advertising also increase by manyfolds. With the launch of Google Plus, they will give tough competition to Facebook advertising.
Effect on Positioning:
Google was known for its search and mailing. Will the launch of Google Plus change the positioning of Google in minds of users?
I certainly think, it won’t affect much. As Facebook started as Social Network and have introduced social search with Bing, and still there is no effect on it’s positioning. Google Plus will be an enhancement to Google Image as it is changing with the trends.
After the failure of Buzz and Google Wave, there are uncertainties about the success of the Google Plus, let’s see if they are able to hit the nail on the head.