When Google Plus launched earlier this year, the company made it a point to let us know that the service was still available only to personal profiles and that brands and businesses who want to build a Google Plus page of their own will have to wait. In an interview to VentureBeat, a Google spokesman had said at that point,
“There will be a product very soon that has businesses’ interests in mind… We want to give them the features businesses expect and the features that can improve the sharing experience both for consumers and businesses. You can expect to see a level of analytics and measurement that you’d typically find in Google products as well as a nuanced approach to how things are shared. It encourages and enhances conversation, it doesn’t just put things in the stream.”
With business profiles expected to be announced soon, speculations are rife on what this new feature could mean to the business of social media. As we have seen in the past year or so, Google has been consolidating their properties – at least the utility part of it. We now have just one universal social property (barring Orkut for Brazil and pockets of India) from Google. Google Buzz and Wave are shutting down. Google Reader is losing its ‘Share’ option. And all of these are being replaced by Google Plus. Similarly, Google Videos is being phased out as users are now being encouraged to share videos via YouTube alone. Most Google properties now have the uniform profile bar at the top of the page that lets users connect to the different Google properties at one place.
So, does this consolidation provide us with a direction that this new Google Plus for Brands will take? One of the most likely possibilities is that Google could integrate the “RSS reader” functionality right into the service. A significant number of ‘Brands’ on Google Plus are likely to be blogs and other news media websites. At present, these websites have separate buttons to let users subscribe to RSS and newsletter feeds. In addition to this, these websites also carry a +1 button for independent posts as well as the website as a whole.
The next step in Google’s consolidation strategy could be to integrate these different elements so that users may follow their RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions and brand postings on Google+ right from the notifications section on the top of their Google window. What this means is that users no longer have to independently follow the brand pages on Google+ and re-read the same posts on their Google Reader. Instead, Google could be moving towards making Reader and Feedburner redundant by providing these features on Google Plus.
Why should they be cannibalizing their own properties? For one, Google does not monetize Reader or Feedburner and the only reason these properties have existed is to keep competition in the segment at bay. By moving towards one property that will fulfill all these requirements, Google would not only be keeping the interests of its users intact, but also establish a larger active base of users for Google Plus who will help the company beat its nemesis Facebook in the social networking segment.
Microsoft’s Project Pink is well and alive according to an inside source. Reuters cites the source as being informed of a Microsoft branded smartphone hitting the US market by “late spring or early summer“.
According to the claims, the phone shall run on Verizon Wireless and shall be targeted at the heavy social networkers. We are not sure of the OS though it is likely to be Windows Phone Classic considering that the newly unveiled Windows Phone 7 series phones are not expected to launch until late this year – earliest by September.
While Microsoft has all along denied these rumors, considering that the expected launch date is just over 10 weeks away, we expect the beans to be spilled sooner than later.
[via Reuters, Gizmodo]
Inside Facebook has made some really detailed calculations over what Facebook could have earned in the past one year and how much the company could be making moving ahead.
According to these observations, the world’s biggest social network could have made close to $700 million that can expect to grow to $1.1 billion through this year.
A majority of the revenues in the past year has, as expected, come from brand advertising and performance advertising – nearly $575 million. The rest of the share is made from sale of virtual goods and through its deal with Microsoft.
However, as you would know, Facebook is working on a payment gateway and if it launches this year, we may expect a huge turnaround in the amount of money made from virtual goods. It can in fact be the main revenue driver for the company.
What do you think?
[via Inside Facebook]
Two patent applications filed by Yahoo at the USPTO describe a new technology where users of a social network could make money by referring products to friends in their network.
Firstly, it is not exactly clear where Yahoo intends to use such a technology – the patent discusses an auction marketplace scenario though it also clarifies that such a technology could be used in social networks or online photo albums.
This is how the technology will apparently work (Click to enlarge)
All said and done, this could be the closest we may come to ruining the social network experience. What’s your take?
Blackberry users have been offered the ability to chat and share files with other Blackberry users through the Blackberry Messenger. Now, if the indications are true, Motorola may be going a step ahead and launch a comprehensive social network for their customers.
In a patent filed recently with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Motorola has described a social networking service over their telecommunication network that will enable users to discover new friends, share pictures and videos, comment on others messages, etc.
Interestingly, it appears that Motorola could be partnering with existing social networks to kick this feature off. The inventors explain
“In another embodiment of the invention a third party service provider may provide the social networking service to the user using the telecommunication network “
Much like the friends discovery tool in most of the social networks, Motorola’s invention too talks about making use of the users’ contact information like phone number and email address to search for other friends who are already in the network.
Motorola has been gaining traction in the smartphone segment since the launch of Droid and it is likely that the company sees a social networking service as a way to showcase their handsets to a cluster of a population rather than sell it to individuals.
With social networking apps already available, do you see this strategy picking up?