google

lori r taylor, revmediamarketing, social media, social media marketing, branding, product branding, networking, oneclicksociety

Google Opens Its Umbrella

In another step toward complete information integration for its users, Google today announced it will merge all its user data into one handy file.

This provoked a firestorm of questions and controversy as privacy advocates tried to figure out exactly what was being merged, and users tried to figure out what it meant for them.

Since Google+ first came along I have been saying that I see it as a huge umbrella under which all Google properties will eventually be placed. In this way Google+ will continue to expand its reach, gobbling up users who might only have a Blogger account, YouTube account, Gmail or Picasa account. By using their network in this way Google+ doesn’t need to directly compete with Facebook for users, because it already has users. All it needs to do is re-direct those users to Google+ to make their numbers jump.

This merging of personal information, Google says, is only meant to improve the way users receive advertisements on its network. They can focus specifically on what users want because, well, they know what you want. If you searched for it, or accessed it in any way, Google will know and share that information with its network of properties, so no matter what Google property you are using, it will (in theory) already know what you like.

In the meantime privacy activists say this is coming close to creating an atmosphere akin to ‘Big Brother’ within the Google network, but the company is committed and shows no signs of backing down.

For now users can take some comfort in Google’s written promise that they do not plan to share any personal information it gathers on its users. Of course, we’ve all heard those promises before…

Google plans to start combining information the company collects about each user of its various websites and services into a single profile, the company announced on Tuesday.

Previously, Google said it did not create comprehensive profiles across its various properties, including its leading search engine, Android smartphone operating system and YouTube video site.

In a statement, Alma Whitten, a Google privacy director, wrote that the changes “will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.” She added, “Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products.”

Click here to read more about the new Google privacy policy.

social media marketing

Makeovers Are One Thing: Transformations Are Another

This past year there were a number of changes to the social media landscape, including the creation of Google+. These changes to our existing social media services have all been meant to improve functionality, increase useability, and attract new users, and more less, they all have worked.

What the world seems to be waiting for, what we have all grown so accustomed to in the ever changing tech-world, is a true transformation. A disruptive technology that truly changes everything we thing we already know about how we can interact with one another via social media.

I say, what’s the hurry? It seems to me we have hardly scratched the surface when it comes to the true potential of the services we have right now, why do we need to find something brand new to change everything? We don’t even know what “everything” is right now. Not even the most social media savvy people have mastered all the various social media services that exist. We are still unable to provide effective social media analytics that tell us whether social media marketing efforts are worth their time (I truly believe they are) and whether or not there is any value in a “Like”, a Follower or a +1 (I believe there is) and what that value is (That I cannot truly answer.)

When an existing social media site decides to change their look, gives themselves a true makeover, I don’t expect it to do much more than appease people who have grown tired of seeing the same old thing. It might attract a few new users, or keep some existing users from getting bored, but probably won’t do much more than that.

I could sit here and tell you what I believe the impact of Google+, Facebook and Twitter will be in 2012, but that probably wouldn’t help you very much. The fact is you need to discover their strengths and weaknesses for yourself so you can better inform your customers or clients as someone who truly understands the nature of the tools they are using, and is not simply repeating what they read somewhere.

As for a transformative social media network? I think we have enough to worry about for the moment, without adding a truly disruptive technology to the mix. Of course, I don’t make these tools folks, I just use them.

 

Three of the major social media sites introduced or rolled out makeovers of their platform this month. Facebook has made its “Timeline” feature available to everyone (on personal pages), Twitter has released a new design, and YouTube has started “channels” on its site. It’s the start of a lot more changes like to come in 2012.

Facebook presented their new design in October, and then quietly tested it in New Zealand last month. They’ve now opened it up for everyone on personal pages. The new look takes photos to another level, with a full-width photo across the top of the page and a smaller profile picture. When the new design is offered to businesses, it means you’ll need better photography on your page — at least for the large top photo. No more using grainy cell phone photos.

The design also places your photos in chronological order, which on personal pages, essentially means you’re providing your life story in photos. You want to think about that before you post it. Facebook allows you to try out the Timeline feature for seven days (it is free), but once you convert, that’s it. You can edit the photos in the Timeline, and if you’re in the job market or have “friended” people from work, you should definitely go through all the photos in your timeline before releasing it.

Click here to read more about the makeovers.

lori r taylor, revmediamarketing, social media, social media marketing, branding, product branding, networking, oneclicksociety

A Google/Facebook War Seems Inevitable

Facebook is closing in on a full one billion users, making it the King of All Social Media, but Google has not been letting up when it comes to new users. Some estimates put their user number at nearly a half billion by this time next year, making it the second biggest social media service n the world.

This makes a battle between the two social media behemoths, whether or not you believe they actually serve the same purpose for users.

I have said before that I felt Google+ was a better tool for people who already regularly use Google tools like Blogger, Docs, YouTube or even search. This is what has led to their continued increase in Google+ users. If you have a Gmail account, or any account with a Google service, you already have a Google+ account. At some point you will likely want to use it. That only makes sense. If you like what you find there then you’ll likely be back for more. If you don’t, you won’t.

Facebook, on the other hand, has made a business of social media. It has added a great deal of third party processes and services, meaning you can get more out their social media network at this point than you can from Google+. Today, if you want the easiest-to-use social media network that reaches the greatest number of users globally, then you naturally reach for Facebook. But given its sheer volume of potential users, and an easy trail to follow, already blazed by Facebook, Google could make a serious run for dominance.

I am still not convinced this is their plan or their goal. Consider their launch foibles: They initially forced new members to only use their actual names. Then, there was no room for businesses on their network. Even when their new Business Pages were eventually rolled out they were severely lacking in features. This tells me Google doesn’t care as much about being a Facebook clone as they do about doing things their own way.

Whether or not Google is planning on directly competing with Facebook, a battle does seem nearly unavoidable. Eventually users are going to choose to narrow their social media interaction to the niche which fits them best. At that point we might just see Facebook user numbers declining, instead of increasing. But that day seems far off, for now.

While most analysts think Facebook retained its wide edge this year, most agree that the battle is likely to heat up further in 2012. And that means users of both Facebook and Google+ should expect a lot of new features and more integration with third party products.

“This is a fight for survival for Facebook — and for relevancy for Google,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. What happens in 2012, he added, “will make the difference between whether there is a Facebook by the end of the decade and whether Google can become truly relevant outside of search.”

Click here to read more about a possible social media battle.