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Get ready for a new round of changes within the social/digital marketing spaces. Google+ opened it's doors with a limited launch last week. After using it for a few days, I can tell this will shake things up.
Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook and how they believe social activity should be done. Google knows social is all about sharing. They also know that not everything we share online is enjoyed by all of our friends. Their solution: Circles. Add people to your own custom circle to ensure the content shared fits a common or shared interest.
Want deeper connections? Create a Hangout for your contacts and everyone can join you in a video chat.
Content sharing is even made easier with Sparks, a content delivery/curation system providing you the topics you select. For example, I chose topics such as sports cars, tech news, website design, location based marketing and iPad apps.
Photos, videos, and even web content you have clicked the +1 button on can be seen within your public Google profile. (Which you'll need to use Google+)
It's still early and more Google products are slated to be bolted on - Docs, Photos, Music, Apps, etc. Most anticipated will be their version of business pages. Noticeably absent are all forms of advertisements. One theory I have is that we won't see ads until the public launch and users have created their circles. Our circles could help Google create a new, hyper-targeted ad platform.
Google doesn't necessarily need to create a social networking platform that overtakes Facebook in size, they just need to create one that makes a ton of shareholder value. Even if they grab every Gmail user, that's still under 200mm users. However, once you start to add users who only use stand alone Google products, those numbers start to approach the massive numbers Facebook commands.
I like what I see so far; Google+ should be a disruptive force to twitter as well as Facebook. More sharing options (+1 button) and the ways in which this shared content functions within Google's Panda update will be another item to watch.
Public launch is said to be within six weeks. More invites are rumored to be available soon. If you're interested, leave your Gmail address below & I'll send out as many as possible.
POST UPDATE: Google+ Business Pages should now be available within two weeks.