We hoped, we prayed, we begged, but despite our desire for something to compete with Goliath Facebook, the writing is on the wall. You may recall that weeks before Google Plus was even announced I wrote about this situation. I stated that the future of social media is NOT more networks, but rather tools that make the current graph more effective via relationship management.
Low and behold, here came Google Plus. Privately (with my personal contacts) along with some public Facebook arguments I was berated for my prediction of the failure of Google’s third inroad into the game. I came out of the closet a few weeks ago and openly made my prediction known via my post Three Reasons Google Plus is Facing Difficulties.
Boy, did I take a lot of heat for my view on this. However, based on some of the latest information, it appears my anecdotal evidence is starting to be reported by others that track this sort of thing. On Thursday, 89n.com reported that posts by Google+ users are down 41% during the period of July 19th – August 19th. Without any delight, I still gotta say – I told you so…
Here’s the big problem for our friend Google… Their core business of throwing ads is in major jeopardy. Bing is gaining traction in the search space and the overall search market is declining due to users patterns within social media. Google has made so many major mistakes, not least of which is recognizing the effect of social media on their business model and making changes early to adapt. Early on with Google Plus, I said more than a few times, “We just saw Google Tap out”, borrowing a term from MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). How come I was the only one who saw this or was willing to say it publicly?
So based on the future prospects of Google continuing to do the same things, yet expecting different results, I have a 5 step business plan that someone with some senses on the Google board should listen to seriously…
1) Fire the CEO and lead management that pushed the Google Plus idea internally. This is inexcusable. Three failed attempts in the same massively dominated space. Fresh blood with fresh ideas and a better understanding of the social graph is badly needed within this organization.
2) Spin off Android into its own company. One of the best things with legs that Google has created is the Android OS. This clearly is giving Apple iPhone a run for its money and is currently seeing incredible growth gains exceeding their competitor. Spinning this business off into its own company will give Google the ability to have a win (retained stock in the business), and enable them to focus on what’s ahead for the company.
3) Sign deals with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to never try to compete via another social network again. If Google is going to survive the continued online changes, they will HAVE to be on friendlier terms with these giants in the social space. Suck it up and get it done.
4) Develop a socially tweaked web search. Once you have done deals with the big boys above, there is a big opportunity to better incorporate search and social media. Creating ways to deliver search results that are highly social media leveraged is where Google has an opportunity. Converging results of web properties along with influence and content within the social graph is not only interesting and valuable, it is where things are going. This will give Google something truly unique in the social space, but also create a new social media optimization angle and connection with the millions of SEO people out there that would immediately push the changes to their clients worldwide.
Furthermore, creating an API that keeps the +1 button, allowing people to easily like something to Facebook, as well as tweet it to twitter with one click provides user value that will cross all markets, resulting in additional traffic and add delivery opportunities.
5) Develop social tools that facilitate the proliferation of social media management, marketing and commerce. As I mentioned in a previous post, Google should have and now needs to lead in the supporting technologies for the new web. Integrating data from Buzz, Gmail and G+, Google is positioned better than anyone to quickly develop a social CRM for everyone!
I know this is a very controversial post and will no doubt have the anti-Facbook, Google+ lovers up in arms and out for my head. If you lay down your battle-ax and look it this situation realistically, Google is on the ropes and needs a major shift in business focus, leadership and development direction. No doubt, you have some thoughts, let’s hear it…