July 2, 2015

Revenge of the Giant: Google’s Next Big Thing Will Soon Be Here?

Revenge of the Giant: Google's Next Big Thing Will Soon Be Here?

I was pretty sure Google wouldn’t sit waiting forever after the “Facebook Mail” announcement, but wow, I didn’t imagine they would start retaliating so soon.

I was checking Techcrunch as I often do and I stumbled on this article, finally bringing some light on Google’s next move towards being “more social”, something tons of people talk about since a while after the Wave experiment crashed miserably.

I guess G’s rush is a result of the pressure they feel after Facebook is deliberately trying to step on its toes invading the mail-realm with their social-realm power, or maybe it was something they planned since a while, I guess we’ll never know.

The article I cited up there is not enough to answer all the questions, but we can gather several insights anyway.

First of all, it’s a pretty big thing: a co-founder involved, a whole area of the Googleplex dedicated to it, that’s for sure not a “side project” like Wave was. Something big’s cooking!

Additionally, Google has by now enough resources to make something interesting out of all this. They have access to the biggest amount of data in the history of humanity, they partnered with Twitter starting their own version of the social search paradigm and they had a lot to learn from. They sure learnt something from the Wave experiment and from Buzz’s big incident.

Speaking of Wave

I admit I went into a frenzy trying to find a Wave invite back then and, once I got it, I played with it for some days and dismissed it for a lack of use. I mean, it was cool and all, but I couldn’t really find a use for it, a motivation to visit its URL at all, and that’s kinda sad since most people had the same experience.

Google – it is widely accepted – ended its life kinda in a rush. There are tons of services which aren’t as popular as one would expect, but they still are there. Wave has been shut down by Google for lack of patience, and maybe now we can see why.

Perhaps the experiment has served as foundation for the new “+1″ project? I wouldn’t be surprised if the minds behind it will come out as being currently assigned to this new thing.

Lots of speculations

Nothing’s certain, but there obviously are a lot of thoughts about +1.

How does Chrome fall in all this? Techcrunch’s article mentions an extension to integrate +1 in Google’s browser – opposed to fully baking it in its core, which wouldn’t make much sense anyway – but since we still don’t know what is all this about, it’s hard to predict the functionalities that this “extension” will eventually have.

Google could be ideating a “social layer” to sit on top of the full suit of its applications, making sharing of documents, videos, emails, projects even easier, allowing people to “Like” (for lack of a better term) or comment on them, even if this would probably feel a bit too much Facebook-style.

What I believe almost sure is the key role Android is going to have. It doesn’t really make sense to create a social application without involving your top mobile product, especially since  it’s obvious how the world of social is moving more and more into the world of mobile.

As far as I can see, there’s no mention of anything like this in Gingerbread (Android 2.3), but seeing how fast the releases are coming out (2.2 isn’t that old at all) it wouldn’t surprise me if +1 came out in time for 2.4 to hit the phones.

Apple war

Maybe “war” is a bit too much, but it’s undoubtable that Google and Apple aren’t really big fluffy friends anymore, each stepping on the other’s toes – actually Google is doing much of the stepping nowadays – and with Apple integrating Twitter into its Ping just a few weeks ago you never know what their next move is going to be.

Since Google Voice has finally landed on the iPhone as well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a +1 integration when the time comes.

Google has no interest in locking anyone out of its social platform. Most iPhone users are Google’s users as well (in my experience, “most” equals to “100%”), so locking out iPhone users would be completely insane.

And Apple would have little interest to lock out +1 from its App Store (besides, there’s no contractual reason for that, not like Apple ever needed one but yeah) unless they are planning a social network on their own – and please don’t tell me Ping is a social network ’cause I’ll gouge my eyes out in despair.

On the other side, Apple has been rumored to be “in talks” with Facebook regarding Ping or possibly other collaborations, making this whole “social affair” even messier than it needs to be.

Where Gmail falls into all this?

Good question. For sure, +1 is going to involve Gmail tightly. It wouldn’t make sense any other way, but how this is going to happen is not clear. I can’t deny that Facebook’s system is fascinating, my only objection to it has always been the fact I am no big fan of Facebook in first place, and delegating to it all of my online communication seems a bit crazy at this time.

However, considering my business – like many others – already uses Google Apps to manage their corporate mail, I can see a massive use of +1 should it become integrated with Gmail even on a tight level.

Gmail and +1 would be a perfect way to counter the “Facebook Mail” project, admitting Google even needs to at all.

What’s going to happen?

Wish I knew.

Worst case scenario, another Wave incident, Google falling off the social bandwagon of triumph, and really not many other consequences at all, not like a failure can dent Google’s domain, at most they’ll just have to suck up on Facebook a lil and see where that leads.

Best case scenario, another service to log into and one more service to monitor for brands.

This doesn’t mean I am skeptical on the potential of “Social Google”, I just don’t believe there’s much room for revolutionary changes right now. However I hope to be proven wrong as I am curious by nature.

What do you think of all this? Would you use an additional social service, if it’s big G behind it? Do you think it’ll provide yet another source of privacy-leaks like Buzz did?

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  1. Pete Carr
    Twitter: BloggingGenius

    Hi Gabriele,
    Google has really dragged it’s heels on this one. It’s like they have just sat back and watched Facebook trample all over them. People are lazy by nature, so if they can go to one place and get everything they will, this is where FB is winning the war. I will be honest, I have never found Google that easy to use. Not the search engine but all their apps. None of it seems to flow. With Facebook it is all in one place, from one interface. I think Google will have to really go some to compete.
    Will be interesting to see what they come up with.
    Pete Carr recently posted..GOAL- Whats Yours

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      I guess it all depends on the kind of approach you have with them.
      I admit I mainly use Docs and Spreadsheets, and they seem pretty well integrated to me, especially used from within a Google Apps domain.
      Nevertheless I can see your point, Google feels more like apps born alone are being forced to work together, while Facebook was born with the integration in mind from start.
      I guess we’ll see where this is going to lead.

  2. Call me oldfashioned, but Twitter is simply more than enough for me wrt social networking. I dislike the idea of putting all of me eggs on one basket….
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach recently posted..Determine your MOST PROFITABLE product to promote for the holidays – Day 3 of Day 25

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      While I don’t really think one should spread his social media efforts through too many networks, I wouldn’t limit myself to Twitter only, but eventually it all comes down to the use you have for them anyway.
      I too am leaving out several networks and potential chances of growth ’cause I know all too well that I couldn’t dedicate the necessary time for them.
      My philosophy is, if you can’t do it something at your best, don’t even bother.

  3. Alex@Jocuri says:

    Well, if google will make something integrated with their search engine, I am pretty sure that A LOT of the people who search the net will use it. If it will be something that will help your brand/website again I think there will be heap loads of people using it.

    Google now really wants to tap this big money maker that is social networking (and as a side note, I think the biggest thing they are upset of, about facebook, is their ads, they really want a piece of that revenue).

    I don’t think they are feeling threaten by facebook’s email service, and if they will integrate a certain social related service with it, it may just be a coincidence.
    Alex@Jocuri recently posted..Motociclete 3D Cascadorii

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      Google indeed can leverage on an impressive user base for this new “social turn” of events. They feel threatened not much by the Facebook “mail” per se, more by the shift of attention users are showing towards it. The “conversation” is taking place in FB headquarters, and the Google garden isn’t for cool kids anymore.
      This is what they fear the most, I believe. They are scared of being left behind simply because they don’t have a suitable alternative. Wave was a faint attempt at that, now we’ll see what they’re gonna cook with +1.

  4. John Soares
    Twitter: TheJohnSoares

    Gabriele, I certainly don’t follow these issues as closely as you do, and I really appreciate your in-depth analysis here.

    From my personal experience and what I’ve read and also discussed with others, a lot of people will not be comfortable entrusting e-mail to Facebook because of the various privacy issues that have plagued the company over the last year or so. I like Facebook — a lot. But I don’t trust it.
    John Soares recently posted..Download my Podcast on Freelance Writing for College Textbook Publishers

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      That’s exactly my approach as well. I don’t trust Facebook, besides, I dislike how 99% of people use it. I hate going to parties or events with friends only to find myself – sometimes – posted along other pictures throughout people’s walls. Even if not tagged, I find that annoying, especially because it has become the normal behavior: taking as many pics as you can to post them on Facebook as soon as you can. Something socially accepted, almost mandatory.

  5. Patricia@lavenderuses
    Twitter: lavenderuses

    Hi Gabriele

    Like Barbara, Twitter is enough for me at the moment. I use gmail and happy with it and not a fan of Facebook so will wait patiently and see what happens.

    I am not a techie and when new things come along, I tend to let the techies try them all out and then ask one of my techie friends if I need to embrace the latest thing or not. Means I don’t get caught up in things that I know little about lol

    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia@lavenderuses recently posted..So Little Time- So Much To Do

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      That’s a good approach as well 😉 Waiting silently to see how things evolve is a sure way not to be stuck with a useless service.
      Somewhat like Wave, all the techies got an invite to the beta and then it came out it wasn’t that cool to have an account after all.

  6. Mitch says:

    This might seem odd, but I just don’t have enough trust towards Google to be handling all my social media information as well, especially with some sort of universal toolbar following me everywhere. I also don’t fully trust Facebook, which is why I’ve been circumspect with what I’ll put there to share with everyone. It just seems like the major players are eventually going to try to turn into the same thing that cable systems are with TV, few and far between, not enough choice, and gobbling up the last vestiges of privacy for anyone who wants to be online for any reason whatsoever.
    Mitch recently posted..Blogging Step Seven – Staying Motivated

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      I am not thrilled about a “social toolbar” either, I really dislike that kind of plugin, and when I read about a Chrome integration I was a bit worried.
      I really don’t know how they are going to go on regarding this, but I believe I won’t shut them down before seeing what they come up with, and after that I can decide wether to use it or not.

  7. Tristan@Blogging Tips
    Twitter: tristanhigbee

    Really interesting stuff here, Gabriele. I think tighter social media integration with gmail would be awesome, and it seems like that might be their smartest move. I mean, if everyone is already using gmail, I think it would ensure +1 is adopted by a lot more people.

    I think Facebook is fine for my personal stuff and connecting to friends, but I haven’t done much more with it than that.

    Anyway, another great post. Thanks!
    Tristan@Blogging Tips recently posted..68 Blogging Tips from Confucius FREE eBook Plus a Bonus!

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      Google has already a winning product in Gmail, so it’s only natural they are going to try and integrate their social effort tightly within that. I am not sure how this is going to take place, but as you, I am very curious to see the outcome.

  8. Tito Philips, Jnr.
    Twitter: MADphilips

    I wonder when all of these is going to die down. There is so much competition and imitation amongst all these guys and I just wonder when the whole thing will end. Everyone is fighting for dominance, not that this is bad for we users, not really, it is just the whole confusion it creates that makes it had for one to master one tool before the next big thing.

    I will still stick to the mainstream tools for now, whatever evolves next we shall learn.

    Thanks for the post. I couldn’t help following the link when I saw it from Mitch’s blog.
    Tito Philips, Jnr. recently posted..How To Be A KING In Your NICHE

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      Yes, as Patricia said up there, maybe it’s better to just wait and see how it evolves, letting “pioneering users” do their job.
      I normally would skeptical about yet another “social network”, but seeing Google behind it, I am really curious to see what they’ll pull out of their hat.
      Glad you liked my post, hope to see you around again.

  9. Rob@Spokane web design
    Twitter: 20milesnorth

    I saw Google just announce a book store website, that in itself is pretty amazing if they can take on Amazon. I think with Facebook they are seeing ad dollars shift to the social media advertising a bit more and that may be pushing their hand.
    Rob@Spokane web design recently posted..Website Design Focus Zach Mathers Photography

    • Gabriele Maidecchi Gabriele Maidecchi
      Twitter: maidoesimple

      Well Google, like any huge company, tries to have its hands on tons of things at the same time. They are exploring new revenue models in particular ’cause, quite frankly, their advertising model can’t last forever.
      They have to be ready for the next evolution.


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  3. […] I have written about this already, but if you want a quick sum up, +1 was rumored to be the new social service of Google, getting back in track after the failed Buzz experiment, and the crashed Wave of just a few months ago. […]