Brace yourself everyone, Google+ has yet again tightened their grip on Google users by adding a new feature that further integrates gmail into their neatly wrapped “Google package”. Last week Google announced that Google+ users are now capable of sending and receiving emails from other Google+ connections, even if they have never exchanged email addresses. There are ways to opt out of this new feature, but the update has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many users who flocked to Twitter shortly afterwards with many choice words to say about the social network giant. This was to be expected, since the same reaction was elicited back when Google announced that users must be logged into their Google+ account in order to leave comments on Youtube.
Google+ may be gaining quite a reputation of bullying people into getting an account. By making Google+ the glue that holds all Google services together, the social network has quickly become second to Facebook as the largest social media platform available in the United States(not including Youtube). However, in terms of active monthly visits it’s number 4, only beating Pinterest by a few million users. With an array of exciting and unique features that are exclusive to Google+, it is surprising that it’s down the list of social networks in terms of engagement. Could it be that their aggressive tactics are actually doing them more harm than good?
Take the newest update for example. If a user receives a Google+ message from someone outside their circles, the email will appear in Gmail’s “social” folder, not the main inbox. Naturally this reminds most people of those pesky spam emails that are sorted away and never opened, thus lumping Google+ emails into the same overflow of communications people are already used to. Definitely not Google’s most brilliant marketing tactic ever.
All this being said, Google+ does deserve some kudos for making their network very “Brand friendly.” If you’re a business owner it is crucial that your social media marketing strategy includes the use of Google+ since an account carries significant weight in terms of SEO and organic search visibility. And as we mentioned earlier, there really are some cool features that Google+ offers. For example, Hangouts allow you to schedule online group events that allows multiple people to participate, while Communities allow you to participate in focused groups of both individuals and companies who share a particular interest. Not to mention Google+ is a significant component of Google Authorship, which allows you to link your content across the Internet. The more quality content that you post and the more it is shared, the higher your Authorship ranking will be.
So it’s obvious that as a business you’ll reap many benefits by being an active Google+ user. Now if they could just find a less aggressive way to entice individuals to join the Google+ party, perhaps they could make an even bigger impact in the world of social media and truly compete with platforms like Facebook and Twitter.