Google Plus opens for business but is it any good?

Google Plus LogoWe had to mention it, despite the news being everywhere – Google+ is open to the world, and we haven’t seen a launch like it since Google Buzz.

As we all know Google’s PR machine (alongside Apple) is second to none, and when they want us to know something, we all know about it.

So, after 12 weeks of beta testing for a select few (it was tens of thousands within the first few days and many more as most of us got invited) the doors are now wide open.

What is Google Plus / Google+?

Google+ is the behemoth search engines latest attempt to compete with Facebook’s share of the market, who it lost out to a couple of years ago as the site people spend most time on. Google is therefore desperate to capture our online time. Currently in Gmail and Google.com we are not spending anything like the time on those sites as we are on Facebook.

So, like Facebook, Google+ has a community format where you can share content with your friends and colleagues, upload photos and link to other sites.

Plus like “Facebook like” you can “Google +” a page either on the actual website, or within the search results, thus indicating that you like that content and want to share it with your fellow contacts.

However, unlike Facebook which you can use with any email address, Google Plus makes you use gmail, thus capturing a little bit more of your time and focus.

Should business sites use Google +?

Why should we all fall for Google+ when we are pretty happy with Linked-In on a business front and Facebook on a social side? Is there room for Google+ in this sphere or is it a gimmick?

I believe it’s a gimmick and a last gasp attempt by Google to get into the community market, after Google Buzz fell short a couple of years ago. However, it is a serious gimmick that we may be forced to use. Unlike with Google Buzz, Google+ is using other Google assets, such as Google Search, Gmail and Google Webmaster Tools to tie us in. Even more alarming is that Businesses have been made aware that those with Google Plus buttons on their site are starting to perform better in search.

Furthermore Google+ is very apparent in Google Webmaster Tools with its own menu bar. Anyone who checks Webmaster Tools will think – “Hang on, we need some of that”. So SEO companies everywhere are recommending to their clients “Yes I think you should put it up”, it is a recommendation that can only be positive for the client at this early stage, and whether they like it or not, businesses should use Google Plus. Therefore Google, the all dominant search engine wins.

Will Google Plus beat Facebook?

It’s not an accident that Google has launched the full product just two days before Facebook’s F8 Conference. Nor is it an accident that Facebook has launched several new features to its own site this week such as Facebook Lists and other feed options. Surely they were going to wait for F8 to show these off, if it were not for Google?

Only time will tell of Google beats Facebook, but this seems like war. But Google+ seems relatively forced, where we have all more or less grown and evolved with Facebook usage, it seems a large leap for this blogger – at the moment.

I already upload my images to FlickR and Facebook. I share links on Facebook and Linked-in. I am on Twitter reading other businesses news and updates. Do i really want to use something else that may have slightly different offerings? I’ll tell you in a few months.

Google Plus for sale

By the way you can buy 50 Google Plus for $15 – is that a good enough sign that it benefits search? Where there are loopholes, there are spammers.