How Google is pushing Google+ in your face

Google Plus is here, and whether you like it or not, it is here to stay. Everything points in the direction that Google has taken up Plus as being the core of their ‘new way of working’. Google Plus is their “New Pagerank”.

Google Plus is the core for all the data Google gathers about its users. With that data they will try to make the internet as personal as possible. I’ve explained this right after the launch of Google Plus.

But for Google to get that data and to make that data as valuable as possible they need people to use Plus, or at least to take notice of Google Plus. And even though the number of registered users is high, the activity still seems low. So Google is doing everything in their power to push Plus right into our faces. And that pushing is an indication of what is coming.

Below you can find few examples of how Google is ‘pushing’ Google+ into our faces in a way we cannot ignore anymore. And in a way which is predictive of the future.

In the search results

Probably the most logical way of pushing Google+ is the search result pages. When logged in you can see the little +1 button next to the search result and on top of that you can see who of your contacts has +1-ed the specific page. And psychology tells us that if you see somebody you know who liked something, chances are you will like that a bit sooner also. And if you see somebody you know in the search results you will be triggered to see how they got there.

The +1 in the search results will be something which will grow immensely in the future. In the future everybody will be logged in one way or another so Google can give you the right personal information, and chances are pretty big that who +1-ed a specific page will partly determine the ranking of that page on your personal Google SERP page.

The plus one button on websites

Another very simple and obvious way of pushing Plus is the +1-button on websites. It still surprises me how long it has taken them to get a good one. We even had one who could share items before Google did. But now they do, and its everywhere. Like the Tweet- and Facebook-like button it is now featuring on almost every website. And the websites who do not have it yet will definitely have one sooner or later.

The more websites have a Plus One button, the more people will trust it, even those who don’t know what it is. The thought “hey I’ve seen that before” is a psychological strong thought.

In the app store

I only discovered this one recently, but I immediately understood how important this was going to be. Mobile these days is all about apps. And the two major app-‘providers’ are Android (Google) and Apple. In the Android Market you can now +1 an app. Which also means that if others +1 that specific app, they just might show up in your Android Market.

With mobile being very important to Google, because it gets them the most personal data you can imagine, this will be another major indicator of what kind of personalized stuff they will be serving you on the web and on your phone. Plus, we can be much more ‘directed’ to applications, and thus usage, which ‘fit our (and Googles) needs.

In your mailbox

Google+ in your mailbox? Yes indeed. Well, if you are using GMail that is, but who knows what the future will bring here. For now Google figured that if you are using GMail you might as well be alerted to what you contact is doing on Google+. After all, if you aren’t using it, you just might be triggered to if you see your friend is. Google now offers you the last tweet of a contact if you are in an e-mail thread with that specific contact:

This is a small, but very important way of pushing Google+. The mailbox is where many always are, it is a life line for a lot of people. And if you can get Plus into that life line it is gold. The way they are doing it now, on the side, as if it was an ad, is very gentle and not too disturbing, like Buzz was when it appeared as updates in your mailbox. It doesn’t give you more e-mail, it just triggers you to visit Plus.

The grey bar

When they first started testing the grey bar, people couldn’t believe Google would actually ‘hurt’ their design that much. They did, and with reason. The grey bar is literally everywhere on the Google products. Whether you are using GMail, search or Google Reader, it is there. And it is showing you Google Plus. The red counter shows you you have new messages, and be honest, who can resist clicking on a button which tells you there are new messages waiting for you?

But is not just that. On the left side of the bar you can see your own name with a “+” before it. If you aren’t using Google+ yet that will trigger you for sure, after all, it’s your own name. And if you are not logged in you can see “+You” which again is a way of directly talking to you. That will trigger the most ignorant user to click on it and see what is behind.

Making Picasa into Plus Photos

A very smart move by Google was to change Picasa into “Photos”. Now if you go to your photos or those of your friends you are opting into Plus immediately. There is no way of avoiding the fact that you are within Google+. The Google+ buttons are there, the Google+ search is there. There is no way out.

Pictures are one of the most personal products people have. And they like to share those with their friends and family. It is not uncommon to put up a batch of pictures from your holiday on Picasa and to let your friends in to share your holiday feelings. Those friends now are introduced to Google+ (if they weren’t before) in a way they trust: via you.

In ads

Finally a way in which Google is pushing “+” is in ads. Where they make the money. The “+1-s” are now showing up within the ads, showing you not just how many people like the product, but also who of your friends liked it. Again, a very powerful tool to persuade a person to actually click on that ad, after all, if your friends has clicked it, and liked it apparently, there is no reason why you shouldn’t, right?

Using the Plus one button in ads can be a real moneymaker for Google and they will gladly milk this out I suspect. And it will also mean that advertisers will focus on that button and will try to get as many +1’s as they can to have the biggest chance that one of your friends will show up when you see the ad. Meaning that advertisers will push +1 even more.

What can we learn from this?

These are just a few examples of how Google is pushing Google+. We’ve seen the big blue arrow, we can see plus one showing up in our Webmaster tools, our Analytics and other related products. And there is more to come. Google already announced that Google Reader will get the possibility to “+1” an article you have read.

But what can from the +1 button being all around? It gives us a little insight into the future. Google will integrate Google Plus e v e r y w h e r e  they possibly can. And they will use it. We can argue about whether or not it will be a success as a social network, on other levels that discussion is useless, because Google will make sure we HAVE to see it an HAVE to keep it in consideration.

And finally Google will use Google Plus to make the web as personal as possible. No SERP will be the same anymore. Plus will rule the waves.

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

23 thoughts on “How Google is pushing Google+ in your face

  1. I write music and so far I have not used Google +. I think this article illustrates the fact musicians need to add Google in their marketing endeavours. It seems Google is combining its general search engine ranking system and combining it with social ranking. Things are constantly changing on the internet and I believe we need to follow the trends. I have a feeling Google + is here to stay and getting a presence on it will be useful for promoting music.

  2. Given the dominance of Google in search, and the way they are pushing Plus (incl. the SEO value of it), it is probably a matter of time until it picks up and gains popularity with certain niches of Internet users (i.e. ala Twitter). Can’t see it really appealing to most people like Facebook does. Not innovative enough.

  3. As a PPC manager, I really don’t quite understand the +1 for ads.

    Is it a +1 of the landing page? I am constantly testing new ones, updating offers, etc. so I would be incentivized to leave up old landing pages for the sake of preserving +1s at the expense of user experience (since they always talk about that).

    Or is it for the ad itself? Because nobody is going to +1 an ad on purpose unless the advertiser asks them to.

  4. While it’s unavoidable to see Google+ icons throughout the web, I don’t think that means that everyone is paying attention to them. Most people by now have heard of Google+ but not everyone is using it. I think part of the reason is that people just don’t have enough time to dedicate to another social network.

  5. How right you are about this. The Arrow pointing at my name was not cool. Made Google look like one of those lame affiliates they’re always targeting! Still, Google+ is not that great. I visit every few days, scan headlines, and leave. If Google is really collecting data, they’d realize I’m not that interested and rapidly improve features.

  6. Yes, that’s how desperate Google is, to top the social networking hiearchy. But for me, Google+ is such a good social networking site and I have so many visions for it as it is struggling to fight with other same-blooded sites. The best thing they should not do is not to let other sites to copy their style. It should possess a great uniqueness so to kill other social networking sites. Google Buzz seemed like sacrificed for Google+ and I think, the result should be much awaiting!

  7. Interesting article, it will be interesting to see how facebook responds. I feel like facebook has caused some discomfort due to the way they have handled their privacy issues and the timing may be right for google to over take them.

  8. I think it is annoying to see the “Plus”-Buttons everywhere like the “Like” Buttons. It was already boring to be in Facebook after a while and so there is no need to make myself bored with the next social media platform.
    Why do i think so?

    First time it is intersting to maintain a kind of voyeurism, to see what others do. But after a time it is like spam what you get on information, it’s all days the same. And it is a waste of time, to watching how other people live their life and not to live your own life.

    Some friends said, Google+ is not such interesting like Facebook because still there are only business-competitors, but no customers 🙂
    They way I came to this site, was about Twitter and not with Facebook or Google+.
    And isn’t ironic to find this article written in a normal web page and not in Google+? 🙂
    At least i can write my comment here, which would be impossible in Facebook or Google+ … astonishing Web 2.0

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