When Google+ became public sixteen months ago it looked like a major fail on Google’s part. Most folks dismissed it as being too much like Facebook, or complained that no one was using it, or said there were too many “creepy” men (okay, that last one was just from the women).
But in 2013 we finally began to see the full extent of Google+’s usability, and it’s not about being the next Facebook. The Google+ entry in Wikipedia describes it the best saying, “Google has described Google+ as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and that it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associated web-content directly with its owner/author.”
This fact was clearly in evidence in September when YouTube announced commenters would need a Google+ profile (or a YouTube Channel linked to a Google+ profile, at least) to leave comments on videos. This has caused a huge outroar of protest, naturally, but so far Google is sticking to its guns.
When you add in the definitive SEO benefits of using Google+, particularly in using Author Rank, it’s definitely a handy tool for those of us that create content. But the reason I’ve seen a greatly increased use of Google+ in the last few months has nothing to do with that network, and everything to do with Facebook.
Facebook’s continued manipulation of algorithms in order to encourage people to pay for views on brand pages has made most of us that use Facebook for promotion bang our heads against the wall and head on over to Google+. I’ve personally seen a massive increase in engagement over there as more and more folks use G+ as an actual social network.
Google+, as of yet, does not hide your status updates. Everyone you share it with can, potentially, see it. I’m also seeing a big increase in traffic to posts from Google+ as well not enough to make up for the loss I’ve been seeing from Facebook, but it is definitely on the rise.
I have no doubt that more of us will move over to Google+ throughout the year, and for more than just link sharing. I will see you there.