Thursday, 28 July 2011

What's it all about Google?

Recently I've been reading a lot about Google+ and how it compares to Facebook etc. and I can't help feeling most of it seems to be missing the point a little.

I'm not sure Google+ is all about being a social network, its certainly not its only purpose, and most of the comparisons in some way seem a little unfair. In the main they don't highlight the fact that Google+ has the potential to really cement other Google services and has the overarching potential benefit of making it even more likely to be the 'homepage' to the internet (a status Google have been struggling to hold on to recently). For example, iGoogle is a setting you create against your profile, Google Groups uses your profile, Gmail...etc. This means that when making a real comparison between the two services Facebook falls someway short in providing this breadth and certainly it doesn't offer the search capability.

Given all of this I thought I'd take another look at Google's 2011 strategy (what has been publically revealed any way) and see if this can explain anything. Unfortunately my quick review hasn't exactly helped explain what Google+ is all about or where it is heading. First of all Eric Schmidt spoke to Harvard Business Review and said all of their strategic initiatives for 2011 are about mobile. That's ALL of them. This could make some sense when you think about how much of mobile usage is related to mobile social activity but it doesn't completely explain things.

Having thought about the services Google has launched over the years and how it has extended its operations away from 'search' you start to piece together some sort of journey that perhaps naturally leads to Google+. As I mentioned before your Google Profile or A/C allows you access / the ability to fully utilise all sorts of services. You Tube by all accounts is already one massive open social environment where video is shared. Services like the now deceased Wave were about having a shared space on the web where you can discuss things and even work together, other services like Google docs is largely about the same thing as well. Considering this an important question emerges. Is Google+ perhaps more about offering a way of collaborating and sharing in a single platform that can be utilised across all of the Google real-estate? If this is the case does it matter if you have lots and lots of populated circles and operate it as a fully functioning Facebook replacement? I think it doesn't. I think its a way of sharing that means you can just target groups of people or even select them afresh when it's appropriate to share something. Whether this view will be shared by the masses, I'm not sure, but I think this is down to Google as much as anything.

Some of this isn't a complete revelation, but I think that it highlights Google+ as a real strategic development and one that perhaps isn't that much to do with Facebook. I'm eager to see if Google can really draw Google+ into its overall capability in a way that will make it a truley powerful tool. And I'm also excited about its marketing potential, although I do hope that Google are prepared to play nicely, that way we can all help make it a great 'space'.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Thought for the week

"I believe that a lot of our striving after the symbols and levers of success is due to a basic insecurity, a need to prove ourselves. That done, grown up at last, we are free to stop pretending." Charles Handy in "Masters Of The Wired World", edited by Anne Leer (1999)

Thursday, 21 July 2011


Monday, 18 July 2011

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Evolution of E-business?

If this is the evolution of man (and I'm not saying it is):

Is this the evolution of most large organisations E-business?

One to discuss and debate I'm sure.

Images produced by Lucy Yates.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Spammed by thicky's

The title of this short article is perhaps a little harsh, but it is how I feel occasionally. It's not referring to the inappropriate marketing messages I get, it's actually about friends & acquaintances (as Google+ would refer to them).

It seems to me that (at a very high-level) there are broadly two camps of internet users in my extended friendship group. Those who use the internet, but aren't particularly computer literate or web savvy (some of these people actually wouldn't think of themselves in this way), and those who use it and are reasonably computer literate and web savvy. The former spam me a lot, the latter don't. Why?

The obvious reason isn't exactly a genius conclusion to arrive at, but it seems that those who have a little bit more knowledge and experience, use the internet and its various services more efficiently / effectively...
  • They only use it if it's going to make things easier / better.
  • They try to use as few communication / hosting options as possible e.g. I want to collect some information from a range of people, so I'm going to create a central repository for that information, which I will email people about, and then they can add their information to it.
  • They present the information / request very concisely and offer directions and instructions where needed. Perhaps demonstrating that they understand how people are typically helped and aided when online.
  • In their communications there are usually follow-up mechanisms which are equally as well thought through, and there is often a way of communicating back in a 1-2-1 interpersonal interaction if it was originally 1-to-many.
I understand that the differences in these two groups simply reflect the skills and knowledge of the individuals. However, I wonder if the more savvy group are going to increasingly find the modern world a far more simple place. Or if the less savvy group are likely to get the right feedback over the coming years and become far more effective online users. I suspect some will just become (more) disillusioned and frustrated.

Either way I think, like others I know, that this is another element of an increasingly polarised society where those who can move quickly and effectively online are [will] moving [move] away (in various terms) from those who are less able.

Thought for the week

"The 21st century corporation must adapt itself to management via the Web. It must be predicated on constant change, not stability; organized around networks, not rigid hierarchies; built on shifting partnerships and alliances, not self-sufficiency; and constructed on technological advantages, not bricks and mortar.".

"Management By Web" by John A Byrne in "The 21st Century Corporation" supplement to European edition of "Business Week", 21-28 August 2000

Monday, 4 July 2011

Thought for the week

To the crew of @frt90 / when reflecting on the success of the Farnham Charity Bike Ride.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978).