TopRank Marketing Editor

Google: The Social Media Company

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Online Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media

Over the last few years, the popularity of social channels – for professionals, teens, grandmas and everyone in between – has skyrocketed. Consider the recent numbers:

  • Twitter experienced an annual growth in 2009 of 1,382%
  • Facebook now boasts 400 million active users
  • Every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube

Between blog posts, Facebook status updates, tweets, videos and every other piece of social content published, there’s a whole lot of information floating around out there.

Enter the latest social media player, Google.

Google’s latest activities, acquisitions and features all point to the fact that the search giant no longer has a close eye on web 2.0; it’s already there.

Here are 5 ways Google is now becoming a dominant social media player:

1. Google Social Search

Google Social Search results

Until now all of the social content in channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, hasn’t been easy to find in a central place – including through Google search.  Until now, that is.

That’s where Google Social Search comes in. It’s still in the experimental stages, but this new feature combines users’ social connections with organic searches. For example, if you were to search for “New Zealand,” social search results would appear beneath the organic search results. The tool scans your social connections’ content (based on the social accounts included in your Google profile) to create these results.

2. Google Buzz

Google Buzz

These days, it seems the social world is abuzz with talk of Google Buzz. This new product is built into Gmail and essentially turns users’ inboxes into social networks. A mobile version of Google Buzz is also available.

Here’s how it works: Google Buzz leverages current email contacts and connects you with their social profiles. Through Gmail, you can share status updates and photos, and start conversations, all through from your email.

What does this mean for your brand? You may want to consider adding Gmail to your social media marketing mix.

3. Twitter and Facebook Feeds in Search Results

Imagine the tweets highlighting your latest blog post or a new product launch getting found in organic searches. These days, that’s a reality.

At the end of February, Google happily announced on Twitter that public status updates from Facebook fan pages would now be included in real-time search. Facebook joins a long list of other social content appearing in search results including:

  • Twitter tweets
  • FriendFeed updates
  • Google Buzz posts
  • MySpace updates

Twitter and Facebook marketing efforts, then, take on new importance and new meaning. It’s now essential that all social content be optimized just as other online content is optimized.

4. Google’s Social Acquisitions

Still not convinced that Google’s sights are set on social? Just check out the list of its acquisitions over the last nine years, and count the social platforms.

In terms of sites owned by Google, the search giant has the gamut covered:

5. Google Wave

Google Wave

Google Wave

Essentially, Google Wave is 21st century email. The tool enables real-time communication and collaboration – i.e., share images, post videos, discuss ideas. Within Google Wave, you can create a message, invite other users to take part in the discussion, and add files, images, videos, you name it.

The coolest part about the tool is conversations are live, but you can rewind the wave at any time to see a previous comment.

It’s only available in limited preview right now, and you need an invitation from Google to join. Unfortunately, I’m not one of the lucky ones. Google, if you’re out there, can you hear me?

There’s no doubt about it: Google’s gone social. What’s up in the air is where it will go next. What do you think will be the next Google social media tools or applications?

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Comments

  1. this sounds like a ridiculously seeded post by Google. Who do you know that uses Knol, Orkut, Aardvark or Picasa? They are all second rate to the likes of Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, etc… Wave is a huge failure and Buzz frankly gets no Buzz. I honestly see Google against the ropes right now. Facebook gave it an uppercut this past week and Twitter is sure to continue the body blows. Its going to get rough for Google.

  2. FancyKitten says:

    Agree with Craig. Google’s own identity is the problem. Everyone thinks Google is a… Search Engine! It’s even a verb: “You googled his name.” If I say search, you think Google. If I say social media, you think… Facebook. For Google to get people to think of it as a social media company, they’d have to ditch the search engine. And that ain’t gonna happen.

    Google has $200B, 10,000 4.3 GPA Ivy League graduates, and… in ten years, it has never come up with a single product that makes significant money. 98% of their revenues come from Adwords, and they copied that from GoTo (and paid a billion dollars to settle the lawsuit). All of their other tools don’t make enough money to pay for the servers (current operations cost: $3B/yr).

    2010 is going to be interesting. Google quit China this morning. Bing grabs markets away from Google. Bing now powers search in Yahoo (500m users) and Facebook (400m users). Facebook is growing 135% per year (Google 9%/yr). We’re going to see massive changes this year.

    • Excellent observations and stats Andreas. I agree, big changes are afoot. One comparison you didn't mention was the 55+% gap in marketshare between Google and Bing. I think it it's a good question to ask: what's the bigger long term competitor to Google? Bing or Facebook?

      • FancyKitten says:

        Bing doesn’t have to be better than Google. It doesn’t need to be bigger than Google.

        The goal of Bing is to draw away Google’s money supply. That will kill Google.

        Google is relies on a single revenue stream. It has no lock-in (you can switch to another).

        Here’s a longer list of Google’s failures in Social Media: Wave, Google Video, Knol, Answers, Google Groups (Usenet), Bookmarks, Notebook, Jaiku (Twitter clone), Orkut, Searchwiki, Talk (IM), Lively (3D social), and Buzz.

        • Microsoft makes most of it's revenue from OS software. Google does the same with AdWords. They both launch numerous test businesses that never reach the same level of success as their primary money maker. How are they so different in this way?

  3. Thanks @AndyBeal (via Twitter) – The Social Media Company http://bt.io/Eha0

  4. Er, I think Google has to have one of these things SUCCEED. Right now, this article would be better titled 'Google: The wannabe social media company'

    • Good point Ian, but successful compared to what? Facebook is a pretty high bar. Some would argue Twitter or even Foursquare are early successes. Google's efforts in several areas dwarf those services. What about Google: On the Road to Becoming a Social Media Company

    • Good point Ian, but successful compared to what? Facebook is a pretty high bar. Some would argue Twitter or even Foursquare are early successes. Google's efforts in several areas dwarf those services. What about Google: On the Road to Becoming a Social Media Company

  5. Wow! Thanks for the heads up. I did not know that Google had it hands in that many applications. Where in our lives will Google be next. We always worried about government being everywhere, I guess we need to look at Google.

  6. KatieStoeller says:

    Google is every where! Sometimes with SEO I just like to switch it up and take a break from Google, per say, but very hard to do because it is every where. Even Wordloo has Google blogs, but I find Wordloo to be more helpful sometimes than just Googling something.

  7. hemantchahar88 says:

    http:// coomararunodaya.com

  8. Great article. Personally, I don't know how I survived without Google wave. I use Facebook but with the amount of times it gets hacked….sometimes I wanna just scrap it but it is too powerful to ignore. Orkut is a new to me, I will be looking at that in about 2 minutes. With twitter and FB and everything else, it is going to be interesting to see what the net gives birth to next.

  9. Social Media's impact on March Madness http://bit.ly/bhwLx1

  10. Other social media platforms are expanding their features as well. Google Buzz is trying to capture the Facebook and Twitter community, but Facebook is in the works of having email capability.

    • This is true Jack, Facebook is copying the successful features of many other services including FriendFeed, Twitter and Google.

  11. At the same time as reading this, I came across an article in the Guardian – ‘Google Wave is turning out to be more of a ripple’.

    • Hey Steve, Google Wave hasn't resonated with me either – but it has with many others. Will it ever be a killer app? Maybe not. But it's one more reason for certain people to use Google services and be exposed to their advertising.

  12. jgriffin1979 says:

    Good article and cool stuff. All have the potential to be huge for both consumers and businesses. Just make sure that if you are a business owner, you always focus on your brand first, rather than focus on the benefits of the available technology. More in my blog at http://www.jasongriffin.net/2010/01/as-media-op

  13. For Facebook and Twitter growth rate still better than Wave. Google will drive more traffic to social websites, as their index bots are priority of fresh content, I just sign up for one social profile and then another day it comes to first page of search result.

  14. I think Google Wave will become a very important tool in our lives soon. I think it requires some improvements and a lot of marketing. Or Google can just go ahead and replace Gmail with it. I also have an article about Wave in my blog: http://pieceoftech.blogspot.com/2010/02/email-r
    By the way, I can send you an invitation for Wave if you want. Let me know.

  15. RoyalHomes says:

    Sounds good to me. I got to get to the bottom of this.

  16. Theresa Green says:

    I definitely agree that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google are great tools to use as social marketing strategies. With the growth of new technology in the past decade or so, social networks have become a part of people's daily lives. I have to admit my Iphone is attached to my hand, and I check my Google and Facebook accounts almost every 5 minutes. I think that although, as a marketing tool, social networks through the internet can be seen as a bit impersonal, the exposure and range of perspective clients that an advertisement can reach through an online social network can greatly improve clientel. Google Wave is a network that I have never heard of until now, but from reading the description, seeing that it allows live conversation, it could make up for the impersonal factor.

  17. I figured that social networks such as Facebook, and Twitter, were great tools for marketing online. This is the first blog that has exposed google to me as a marketing tool, and from the looks of it, it sounds like a good catch! Especially this new Google Wave feature allowing real-time communication and video chat could definitely help create a personal type of relationship between a company and its clientele…seeing ones face is definitely more reassuring than an impersonal email.

  18. Marc Pickren says:

    Thanks for the post. I never really thought of Google as a social marketing tool like Facebook and Twitter. I think Google is trying to keep up with the social marketing game, but it’s continuously falling short of Facebook and Twitter. I’ll bet Google will still stay in elite group of online search engines with all it’s capabilities, but sorry Google, you should leave the social media marketing to the pros. Stick to what you’re good at, SEO. It’s not always a good thing to follow the trend.

  19. Thanks for the great information and tips – every little helps as they say!

  20. Thanks for the great information and tips – every little helps as they say!

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