Google+ At One Month: A Look At Highlights & Controversies

It’s hard to believe that it was just one month ago today that Google+ launched. So much has happened to the fledgling service in this short time. Here is a look at both the highlights and lowlights of Google’s newest social network!

Launch & Usage

Google+ came out of the gate swinging, amassing 10 million users in just 2 weeks and accumulating rave reviews in the tech world. Here is some coverage of the initial launch and stats behind Google+ usage:

The launch around Google+ was truly one-of-a-kind. As media covered Google’s new social product, people were begging for invites, making positive cartoons & animations and instantly jumping on the bandwagon.

The breakout feature of Google+ quickly became ‘hangouts.’ The video chat within a social network was one-of-a-kind at launch and helped to grow the appeal of Google+, as we covered before:

Forget 10 million users in 2 weeks, how about 1.86 million total visits a week just 3 weeks in? Oh yeah, and the average time on the site was a whopping 5 minutes and 50 seconds:

As the deal between Twitter and Google expired, Google+ helps to fill the social networking space in the search results:

Facebook Fights Back

Sure, Mark Zuckerburg is the most popular user in Google+, but he and his team are fighting hard against it. He has launched improved technologies and resources to help both Facebook users and businesses looking to have a presence on Facebook:

Mark Zuckerburg called a press conference to announce “awesome news” about Facebook. It turns out that Facebook inked a deal with Skype and that the service has been integrated right into the social network. This helps to combat with Google’s “hangouts” but still lacks the multi-user technology:

While many businesses were confused about marketing on Google+, Facebook created an in-depth guide that encouraged companies to market on Facebook.

Bugs & Issues

Overall the launch of Google+ has gone swimmingly with a few bugs that are few and far between. The privacy of Google+ is one of the main features of Google+ that gained the most positive attention to date, which is astounding for a freshly launched network. However, Google+ did run into some issue.

One of the biggest bugs in the initial launch was the ability that users had to publicly post a private share. This was quickly fixed by the Google+ team:

Those tech savvy enough to be using Google Apps may just be the type interested in participating in Google+. However, the service launched without support for the many Google Apps users causing an outrage (and workarounds):

When launched, Google+ would make photo changes a public notification, angering some. Within a week, this was fixed to increase privacy:

Some Google+ users with legacy Picasa users mysteriously saw their photos popping up in Google+ without them uploading them:

Google accounts have long had the ability to be private, but Google is now making a push to have all Google profiles become public – or be terminated. While this is more of an issue than a bug, many aren’t happy that their name has to be public:

Brands

The largest issue with Google+ in month one has been the handling of businesses on the service. Google came away looking totally unprepared and scattered on the issue of brand and company participation and handled the situation poorly. Here is a look at what went down:

After the launch of Google+ many businesses joined the service to try to market themselves to this growing community. Google then came out with a statement telling brands not to create pages as they will all be terminated:

If a company wanted to create a presence on Google+ they were advised to sign-up for the “test phase:”

Google begins to remove “non-human entities” from Google+. Many prominent brands and companies were removed from the service:

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan was a rant about the overall lack of preparation and planning for brands on Google+ and how poorly Google handled the situation. This was a comprehensive post about the lack of thought behind Google+ that had Googlers agreeing with him in the comments.

Instead of terminating many popular business pages, Google granted some the ability to turn the brand account into a personal account. This lead companies like Mashable to turn into Pete Cashmore:

Even though project manager Christian Oestlien stated “We can’t limit a test period to just a few of the thousands of organizations” a limited test period for some select brands does exist (which is also helping them in the SERPs. Ford has a “test account” and was not forced to give up their account even though they technically went against Google’s own guidelines:

Much of the tech community is outraged and confused with the entire brand issue, many becoming soured on Google+ because of it:

Some Celebs On Google+

The current top users on Google+ really shed light on the user base. The majority of top accounts (by followers) are in the tech realm, with no real-life celebrities even cracking the top 25. Here is a look at Celebrities on Google+:

While traditional social networks skew towards pop culture, Google+’s top users are much more tech oriented.

While Google+ is currently lacking in the celebrity department, they do have a strategy in acquiring more. Rumors are that a “verified” account will be available for celebrities so that they can be properly identified.

Google+ is home to a few real-life celebrities, but it is a far smaller percentage than that of Twitter. A few of the top ‘true’ celebrities are:

Trouble At End Of The Month

While Google+ started with a bang, the inaugural month is ending with more of a fizzle. From traffic decreases to more controversy, the social network may be showing signs of slipping:

Many user accounts were deleted on Google+ in the last week in an attempt to fight spam. In the process many real user accounts were deleted.

This past week, Google+ traffic was down for the first time ever. The average time on the site was also down by 10% as well.

A very popular punch list for Google+ and was shared heavily this past week that highlighted items left off of the Google+ service. The list points out many glaring issues that are absent from the social site, including a list of “must haves.”

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Features: Analysis | Google: Google+ | Top News

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About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email



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