There is a lot of fragmentation when it comes to the products Google offers and develops. That by itself is no secret in the industry. This is something that I have shared on my blog before and there are different types/kind/classifications of the pervasive fragmentation that Google would suffer from. If I was going to place these pieces in buckets, then we are essentially talking about:
But I don’t really see a concerted push to give their social movement some wings. I think the actual model of using Circles for social networks was a really neat idea. Google should have capitalize on that one idea and capitalized on it big time. I could see entire marketing campaign revolving around the “Circle of Life”. But you have to be a little careful, cause Disney and Elton John might soon be shouting trademark infringement. And something tells me that you don’t want to pick a fight with Elton.
Jokes aside. Now focusing on that second question and how to drive more traffic to Google +, and going back to Circles. The theme for a concerted social push for Google should really be built on circles. Actually, this is something I shared on my blog a couple of days back link. But that was specific to Youtube. As in saving youtube clips in circles that would be funneled back to Google + as opposed to an actual Playlist in Youtube.
But today I started thinking, why stop there? Why just Youtube? Google could do this for Picasa, News, Finance, Books, Reader, Blogger. Any product really, any product that Google offers itself at the very least and that has the potential to have logical hooks into the social (Google +) sphere should be able to do so. And then think about a plethora of apps. Why did you guys stop @ Games? Where are the apps?
So where as in the past I might have recommended that Google work on a strategy where they would want to tie each one of the tools and services they offer with another one of the services they offer. Like tying Youtube with Goog Analytics (your implementation of that idea was really bad btw). This time around I am proposing that all the data that needs to be fed to Google + , is actually fed to Google +. And how you do it is through Circles. How those circles would then categorize the kind of content, I’ve actually spoken (written) about that in my previous blogpost here. But the key to doing this right is to make sure it is logical, relevant, easily accessible, secure (public vs private) and it looks aesthetically pleasing. It’s not like each one of the profile pages is a dump of information. And ends up leaving the folks on your circles, scratching their heads as to what is going on with someone’s profile.
Think of what you can do with the circles. You can merge them and come up with dynamic datasets. And only get the updates for the folks you really want to receive them from. Forget dumping 250 mill on trying to acquire path.com, you can make your own version of path by tinkering with circles.
So start slow, and then gradually increase the scope of the what the circles can actually do. Don’t limit circles to connections. That’s such a waste.
So to recap and in semantics, Google really wants to throw a big party with Google +. But for any good party to happen, you need to invite people to the party. Lots of people.
Think viral Google. Think Circles. Otherwise the product will plateau.