A lot is said on the possible future of Google+. It seems hard to add a lot to it. On the other hand, we can now see the dust come down a bit and see where it could heading. Possibly it will turn out to be rather different, but well, lets share some thoughts here, based on some deeper drivers that emerges.
Social is becoming a natural part of all services and products that are designed now and in the coming future. In that sense I agree on the views of Roger McNamee. The talk is highly quoted as “social is over”, but that is not the right sentiment. Social is not over, social is not a separate entity anymore, it has become part of everything. That is exactly what we see in the business context happening; social as mean to get in touch with your clients and build on trust and activation is now becoming running business.
We mature in our use of online relations. We see that people, youngsters up front, are becoming professional in the dividing our sharing habits to different levels of online relations. We understand that not everyone is attached the same and it to trust. The rise of private networks is a clear sign, as is the use of private functions in existing networks like groups of closed accounts in Twitter.
The way we communicate is also going to a new phase. We are more selective in sending out and receiving anonymous messages, and we have built a layered messaging habit with private chats in realtime, private messaging to people in our own network and publishing opinions to shape our personal brand.
These three elements are happening for some time now. The existing social platforms (Twitter and Facebook as most important ones) are continuous trying to redesign and introducing new functions to address this developments. And you see that Google+ is using its advantage to start from scratch building up this new social layer and revamping the existing services.
In that, Google could really leverage from the existing fundaments. The hardest part will be to keep focus on the essence of these elements in rolling out the new Google of the second decade, always the hardest part to migrate from existing products.
But the other platforms have even a harder job there of course. Facebook will try to catch up with an enhanced friend listing system. Twitter will bring more coherence in the lists and private accounts.
The coming year, or maybe better; half a year, the different platforms will stand next to each other and creating somewhat sharper profiles. Facebook will be (stay) the private friends network for the masses to share thoughts with friends and find nice stuff for your day to day life. The messaging center will be better organized and extended, maybe even with a simple calendar for instance, to fit all the needs for your private communications.
Twitter will remain and become even more the platform for the latest news, realtime sharing of events with impact, from incidents to big live events in real or on TV for instance. It will be more and more the platform for ad hoc and topic related communications and losing the day to day hangout function.
Google+ will become the serious and professional thoughts-sharing platform. What Twitter was the first years. But also integrating services like Quora. If you are looking for information and advice on stuff Google+ will be your source. It will take that role from Twitter, and it will also take a part of the hangout function dividing it with Facebook.
In the meanwhile the battlefield of the platforms is going on, on the deeper level. Who will be building the best functioning social layer. Facebook have an advantage with the Like and Connect system, but Google has its search-profiles and can grow easily in a social backbone too. If Twitter can team up with Apple it will be a serious competitor in that field too.
When the platforms are closing by creating their dominant profile platforms the challenge (still) will be for businesses to get in touch with the customers. Be part of the conversation is essential for a modern organization, and they have to be present on different platforms. The way the platforms will service that need in respect of the user, will define the shape of the social layer in the coming years.