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Smart Posts IconI like Google. And I'd like Google to like me.

Although it's all very up in the air-ish [1] we know that the rel=author and related stuff that Google's doing is going to be used at some time. Be it for better personalized search results, really useful targeted advertising, or a boost in ranking for specific queries by specific people or groups of people -- we know Google is going somewhere with this.

I want to go there with them.

Google+ Is The New Google And It Won't Go Away

Google would like to know who everybody on the web is. Starting with those who make or do things on the web.

Although Google tried they've never been able to get a solid deal in place to grab steal use other's data. Besides; it's better to own your own stuff.

And for whatever reason they've managed to obliterate any social product they bought or made themselves; Google Shared Stuff, Google Wave, Jaiku, Dodgeball, Google Answers, Google Buzz, Google Lively.

Google+ isn't one of those.

Google+ won't join that list.

Google+ is what the company is betting its entire future on; the other products were trial balloons that had to make it on their own and even then were shot down.

Google+ is the understanding of you as your needs relate to the web, and it's knowing your place on the web; think of Google+ as the social component of the Knowledge Graph for regular people.

But Don't Take My Word For It

"But these are tremendously important changes, and with over 120 Google+ integrations to date (including Google Search, YouTube and Android), we are on the right track [...]

Next-generation search

Understanding identity and relationships can also help us improve search. [...]

Imagine how much better search would be if we added... you [...]

Google+ helps solve this problem for us because it enables Google to understand people and their connections. [...]"
-- Larry Page, CEO of Google, 2012 Update from the CEO

And the key to being part of it, of getting known by Google, is by being a part of it.

"We have to understand anything you might search for. And people are a big thing you might search for.

And so we think about it somewhat differently. We're going to have people as a first class object in search. [...]

Part of this is you have to interact with it and you have to claim your name and make it work for you. [...] we actually need to understand things and we need to understand things pretty deeply. People are a component of that. "
-- Larry Page, CEO of Google, Fortune Exclusive: Larry Page on Google

Google+ Isn't About Being Liked

Google doesn't dig the whole LIKE! LIKE! LIKE! button thing. When you step back a moment and look at what you can get from Facebook's graph, it just isn't that useful to a web search engine. Seriously, think about it for a moment; Jane Doe is a trusted neurobiologist on Facebook ... Why?

I call
Google+
the social
network for grown-ups
So that doesn't work.

It's not really into the FOLLOW! FOLLOW! FOLLOW! model either. What does it say that a reality star has more followers than the head of Google's web spam team? That Kim's smarter than Matt?

Google is after some sort of other signal. It's after: who is this person in real life? Identity. It's after: how far does content that this person shares go? What type of interactions do people have with the content she makes? Who are the people that comment and how are they linked to each other, publications, and companies? How real are you to yourself (personalization) and how real are you to others (trust = ranking).

That's why Google+ doesn't really work as a dumping ground for links. Want to do a bookmark "I read this and you should too" stream? Post it on Twitter.

It's also why Google+ isn't that hot (but can totally be used!) for puppy pictures. You'll get much more awwwwwwwwwwww on Facebook.

Google+ isn't so much chit-chatting about walking the dog, what you had for supper, or how you're planning a cruise with Barb, your girlfriend from work.

It's not really about being a human news feed either, delivering "read this" links.

Or about 140 character water cooler breaks. "Sup? Congrats on the speaking gig! Can't believe they didn't double-check {palm-face}"

Google+ Is About Time And Attention

The sweet spot on Google+, I think, is interesting, thought provoking, discussion (comment) inviting content. It's a place with a steady flow and ample time and (white) space to comment, discuss, interact.

Google+ is the #longreads of social networks. The backchannel of the content web.

Me, I call Google+ the social network for grown-ups.

Of course anything else will work too, especially if you're a "rockstar" or "guru". But if it will benefit you?

So find the things you marvel at, post the things you love. Make it worth your while first; make it work for you, as Larry says. Misuse it as a pure marketing tool and you'll just end up in the "what a tool!" spoke of the social Knowledge Graph.

Conclusion

  • Google+ is the only social network Google owns, trusts, and listens to
  • Google+ use and Google+'s observation of you will have consequences as to what you see in search, and what search sees in you
  • Google+ has a perfect pace, inviting ease, interaction, and fun. Try to really participate and see what happens.
  • To become part of the social component of the Google Knowledge Graph you have to give it time and attention.

Question: If you weren't in marketing or SEO -- what would make you consider using Google+ ?

Photo of Larry Page by Herkko Hietanen