Before Google+ launched several months ago Eric Schmidt repeatedly told people that Google’s social strategy would involve adding a “social layer” to other Google products. When G+ appeared as a full-blown Facebook competitor and destination many people forgot about the “social layer” strategy. But with the addition of +snippets to Google Maps and related sharing on Google+ we see the “social layer strategy” reappearing.
Earlier this week several people, including Chris Silver Smith, reported hearing that Google+ was coming to Google Maps. This is the rumored integration — less dramatic than feared by some who felt that Google+ was too “immature” a product to combine with the venerable mapping tool.
Sharing is simple on Maps: any of the snippets that appear on Google Maps can be shared with other users on Google+ (and those not on Google+). That functionality is useful in many cases: sharing driving directions, addresses and suggested places to visit, eat and so on.
But what’s more interesting is the way in which the Google+ Maps integration represents a kind of template that will roll out across Google properties eventually: shopping, news, calendar, images, pictures and even web search. To be clear this is my speculation — but it seems logical and the realization of the “social layer strategy.”