For those of you who haven't heard, Google has introduced another new social network, called Google+. There are several awesome articles about the implications of Google+ for small business on OPEN Forum already, but I thought I'd touch on a few Google+ myths that are gaining ground.
1. Google+ isn't for small business
Yup, you've probably seen that Google+ doesn't officially allow business to have profile pages (think Facebook Fan pages), and has asked businesses not to create Google+ profiles yet. This has caused quite a stir, and has fueled the myth that Google+ isn't good for small businesses.
It turns out that Google+ has plans for separate accounts and experiences tailored for businesses. They're already trying out these test business accounts—you can see Ford's Google+ profile and more should be rolling out in the near future. Google+'s product manager Christian Oestlien insists that Google hasn't overlooked business. "The business experience we are creating," he says, "should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses. We just ask for your patience while we build it."
2. There is no benefit to being an early adopter
As small business owners, we're skeptics by nature. Why invest in something unproven? Why spend time on something that we don't know will look like in a year, or even a few months? Will it even catch?
The truth is that while early adopters don't always make it big, there is an advantage to showing up to the party first. Early adopters of Twitter gained larger followings faster just because they were there at the beginning. I've found this to be true with my own Google+ profile. It took me about half a year to add more than 200 followers in Twitter—I've added 200 plus people to my Google+ Circles in just a couple of weeks. As Woody Allen once said, 80 percent of success is just showing up.
3. Google+ will never be as big as Facebook
Google+ has a long way to go before it catches up to Facebook's massive user base, which is currently at 750 million active users. But, consider this: Google+ reached 10 million users in two weeks while still in private beta. It took Twitter and Facebook 780 and 852 days to do the same. Two weeks versus two years.
How did Google pull this off? Google+ integrates with, well...Google. The top search engine in the world, the second biggest search engine (YouTube), and many other Google properties that will eventually jump on board. You'll be able to see Google+ notifications inside of all of these applications. I believe that even if Google+ doesn't catch Facebook, it'll still be a force to be reckoned with, and a part of many people's everyday lives.
4. Google+ and privacy don't mix
Online privacy is important to many people, and the topic is only going to get more heated as more of us share more on the Web. But it seems like everyone is up in arms about sharing data with Google, a concern I feel is unwarranted. Here are two reasons why.
- Google is more open than Facebook. Want to take your data out of Facebook? It's not easy, and you can't take all of it. Google allows you to take everything with you via their Data Liberation settings.
- Odds are, Google already knows. Unless you've been diligent with your privacy settings from the very beginning of Google-time, the search engine probably knows a lot about you. Use Google Checkout? They have your address, credit card, and purchasing habits. They know what you look for (Google Search), they know what e-mails you send if you use Gmail, and what's on your calendar (Google Calendar). Like it or not, they probably know a lot about you already.
"Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload, transmit or store in your Picasa account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service."
5. Third-party tools can't integrate with Google+
While there is no public API for Google+ today, there will be one in the very near future. Google+ already has official apps for Android and iPhone, and the addition of a public API means that many more devices and services will start to integrate with the service.
6. Google+ is only for geeks
When Twitter launched, it was assumed that the only people who would ever use it were geeks. Who'd want to post messages shorter than 140 characters about anything anyway? Fast-forward to today where geeks, celebrities, teens, grandparents, politicians, musicians, and even the President all use Twitter. Most Web technologies start as geek-only platforms, and eventually grow into something bigger. Because Google integrates with so many of its popular platforms, it's going to have regular schmoes and tech-savvy people using it, so there's going to be an even shorter ramp for reaching "the masses".
You can follow Glen on Google+.