In an industry that seems dominated by Facebook and Twitter, Google seems to be the outlier, trying so hard to break through the wall put in place by their own service, Google+. Having been around since June of 2011, Google has repeatedly attempted to find its own niche in the Social Media Market with its service. While not having near the user base as sites like Facebook and Twitter, ask any user of Google+ and you'll quickly find that they're more than users, rather they've become evangelists of the service, preaching the gospel of the Plus, for all of their needs.
Google has done far from nothing in their efforts with Google+, introducing features, rolling out (and off) other portions, and integrating it's Google+ service into other related services, such as YouTube, Google Photos, and even Gmail. With its most recent update, Google+ now focuses on "Collections". "What are collections?" you might ask. Google defines it's collections as a tool that "allows users to "build content collections based on topics and interests"." To Google, Collections seems to be a way to group content. To nearly everyone using them, Google+'s collections seems to be their latest jab at yet another social media platform; this time being Pinterest.
From the onset, it's clear that Google+ has found inspiration from Pinterest. Users are able to create groupings of ideas, each with similar threads and interests. Within those collections, users can group together photos, links, text content and other updates. Google has allowed for permission control for each collection, allowing it's users to share with friends, share with the public, choose who can see and follow a Collection, and even delete the Collection entirely.
This is the latest in Google's attempt at relevancy in a world that is increasingly ruled by the 'Books and the Tweets. It's an incredibly interesting attempt at relevancy. As Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest continue to hone their craft, Google seems to be attempting to integrate a small piece of each of those services into their own tool. From an outsider perspective, one might think that this is a fantastic plan of attack to gain users and draw people into Google+. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle that Google seems unable to overcome isn't one that can be cured by Collections, or photo storage, or any other thing that they try. Google+ is a niche product. It has a very loyal fanbase, but that fanbase is small, compared to Facebook and Twitter. Google will tell you that it has 2.5 billion users, but we all know that any Google account is considered a user. In truth, that number is far less. According to a report by Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, only 10 percent of Google users have ever posted ANYTHING to Google+.
Google obviously has one heck of an uphill battle in its attempt to gain relevancy in the social media world. Collections is a great step forward, and definitely something worth checking out. Will it bring users from other services to its ranks? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing is for certain, though; as Google continues to innovate Google+ as a product, it becomes more and more interesting to more and more people.
Check out the screenshot gallery below featuring the new Google+
Article written by contributing TEKSide writer: Zach Egolf