Has Google Dropped The Ball With Google+ ?
There is clearly a buzz and wave of excitement surrounding the current beta and impending launch of the new sharing service from Google, in the form of Google+ but has it been thought through?
All is not rosy in camp Google as there are changes abound across the platform and confusion in particular as probably Google’s most ardent fans, those with Google Apps account, are locked out of the new service Google+ service. This has been made worse by falling so quickly on the back of the recent pain that was the required transition for many users from standard Google accounts to Google Apps accounts.
The experience has felt somewhat like being herded into a pen labelled “Google Apps” only to find the gate locked once you are in there.
In order to use Google+ you need a Google Profile and at present Google Apps users are faced with the stark warning “This service is not available.” which fly’ somewhat in the face of the positive transition message “We recently transitioned your organization to the new infrastructure for Google Apps accounts, a change that makes over 60 additional Google applications like Google Places, Google Reader, Picasa Web Albums and AdWords accessible with Google Apps accounts.”
The Nett result of this problem is that many organisations are likely to setup additional standard Google accounts in order to access the Google Profiles service, and thus the Google+ service, which somewhat defeats the object of the original transition into Google Apps.
The Next Web recently reported that “Google says it is planning to introduce Google+ for businesses before the year is out, allowing brands to create profiles on the site without using workarounds.” (Source: TheNextWeb: Google+ for Business coming “later this year,” shutting down non-user profiles) whilst Google Group Product Manager Christian Oestlien said, on the Google+ site, “it was kind of an awkward moment for us…” when acknowledging that Google+ isn’t optimally suited to many companies needs. Tony Bradley, writing for PC World Business Center, suggests the wait for Google+ Business Profiles might be fruitless as he says “From a business perspective, Facebook Pages trumps Google+ Profiles because businesses are already invested and established there.” (Source: PCWorld: Why Facebook Pages Will Triumph Over Google+ Business Profiles) although Evan Britton, writing for Business Insider, is somewhat more upbeat indicating there may be added benefits, “Down the road, Google+ could be a new method for us to drive traffic to our web properties.” (Source: Business Insider: Why I Am Excited About Google+). It almost seems as if Google has a mental picture of what it thinks a business model is, and should be, and if yours doesn’t exactly fit that model then you’re out of luck.
So, what do you think? Has Google dropped the business ball with Google Apps and Google+ or is this the beginning of a new, more social, Google?