Google+ and the quest for the avatar
A social network that provides a visual representation of the real world of net surfers, for the search engine and advertising
Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook and provides a little more respect for privacy, especially with circles, small groups to share information that nobody else has access. It can be considered a success, because of its widespread adoption by users, although it is far from the audience of Facebook, and even if there are each day articles announcing its death!
Avatars of net surfers
Panda went to remove the pages of no interest and to penalize sites and then the search results have not improved. Because a search engine is still not able to judge the quality or value of a web page with an algorithm. To do this it must have a virtual representation of the net surfer, a virtual being accessible to the algorithms with the interests of the original, behavior, and relationships with others essential to know how spreads information.
This virtual representation, or avatar, Google wants to build it with Google+. For long the company faced competition from Facebook and notes that the ads here are much more profitable because perfectly targeted to the interests of users. But competing Facebook with a similar site would not work, actually Google already has one, it is called Orkut and its audience remains local.
The company decided instead to start something new, which incorporates and unifies the services it already has, all that in a social network as attractive as Facebook, a place of entertainment and exchange, a kind of pub (public house) where to chat with friends.
Lessons have been learned from previous failures: providing useful services is useless if users do also look forward to them.
Google+ will create, as in a pessimistic science fiction novel of the fifties (Simulacron 3, The tunnel under the universe, etc..), a virtual world where net surfers will be represented by an account that will provide all the information to algorithms on what they do, what they want, what they like ... A windfall for an advertising company and an interesting perspective for a search engine.
A request made on Google+ should provide an answer much more relevant to the user with known interests and current concerns.
Google+ planet and services for avatars
This is the place where the avatar is built. It provides much information about the person and his interests with control on the level of privacy. Already present as an independent service, it will be integrated and used by Google+ circles as a way of knowing the user, a starting point that will be completed by all of its activities on the site.
The word circle seems a reminiscence of the past. The Dead Poets Society was a group that meets in secret activities not only literary. A social circle has its own values and rules. Google wants to enable them to meet on the Web while remaining - the opposite of what Facebook does - secret.
A real service for users which can be revealed without fear of being spied on. Except through the eye of an invisible witness, the algorithm of the search engine.
To present a business or just create a focus that will be connected with others.
The user says here his focus and it becomes connected to everything relating to it on the Web. What we found interesting can then be passed on to the circle.
Photo sharing service viewed like the killer feature of G+.
Videoconferencing service, that Facebook does not provide, it allows with a webcam to see the other person with whom one chats.
Group Messaging allowing to tweet with members of a circle.
In summary the essential services revolve around a circle. You may join or start several independent circles, moving from one to another.
A graph that can go back in time, to replay the activity on the site, exchanges that have occurred. It also provide information on users.
This service allows you to connect to Google+ and then be automatically connected to any mobile application that you open without entering your password. It is of course required that the application supports the service. It also will have access to your data on Google Plus.
When a connected user visits an online site that offers Android applications, it can directly ask their installation on his smarphone.
It is the integration of the Place service in Google +. You can discover nearby places, to recommend them.
On August 11, 2011, Google added games for Google+.
A step to the end of webmasters?
In view of the functions provided by G+, it is clear that Google wants to offer an alternative to both Twitter and Facebook, and makes every effort to achieve this by integrating the service to all its other products.
It seems that Google wants to offer an alternative to each service prominent in computer science. Google Offers against Groupon, iOS against Android, Chrome against IE and Chrome OS against Windows, Google Doc against Word, etc...
But we also see that it is gradually replacing all websites by moving users to its services. Google+ will replace forums, blog hosts and other services and, coincidence or not, it is launched in conjunction with Wdyl, a kind of search engine where results pages forwards requests only to Google's services: Sketchup, Trends, Translate, Youtube, etc...
In fact we are moving more towards the end of Google+ after the gradual separation in 2014 of G+ from other Google services: Youtube, then Photo service and then Gmail. Not to mention the end of the consideration of the author tag by the search engine, which tied an G+ account to each article published by a webmaster.
Here are the numbers according to labnol.com:
- 2.2 billion profiles.
- 9% had put a content online.
- Among these 9%, only 6% were active in 2015 (to 20 january).
- Only a half of these .54% had an activity other than on Youtube. This lead to 6.6 million real users.
- Official announcement and videos.
- Criticism of Google+ and Amazon. By a Google engineer in a leaked memo (on G+). "The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought." This is about the the platform (API, etc.), not the service.
- Official guide for business pages.