Google just announced Search in Your World on their blog, which is basically search in Plus. This might seems obvious, since Google is a search company, however it might be vital to get to 1 billion users and to become the dominant Social Network. Over a year ago I wrote on how Facebook could finance its growth to get to 1 billion members. There now is a new player on the rise (even though on the rise is not the right expression): Google+. And besides the challenge of fading user interest, Google has another challenge: how to get to 1 billion users, how to get away from the relative niche positioning and get mainstream. The answer is rather simple: start an exclusion strategy.
Google is about search
Social impulses are important for search since these impulses provide additional insight on how important certain pieces of content are. Bing has social integrated in its search, and social is in this case from two important sources: Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is something that is likely not be integrated in Google search and Twitter used to be integrated, however Google didn’t extend its contract.
So basically it comes down to this:
- Bing: has social impulses
- Google: has no social impulses
This is where Google+ is popping up. G+ is Google’s way to collect social impulses and to build a new social graph not based on their competitors like Facebook or Twitter. However what is the incentive for people to do so. Why would you invest a lot of time in building your new social graph in a new social environment without getting really additional benefits. An exclusion strategy could solve this issue: instead of focusing on what you have to add for people so they will participate, view it the other way around: what will people miss if they don’t participate.
The big exclusion game
Google introduced just after the start the feature that a small icon of the author is displayed next to a search result. Requirement is that you have linked your Google+ profile to the site you are publishing on. Next up could be that your blog posts will not show up in the search results if they are not linked on G+, or that even your corporate site is erased from the search results if you don’t have created a company page for your organisation. Or that if you don’t plus (pressing the +1 button) anything, you will get rather irrelevant search results, since it is the unplussed results you see.
Needless to say, it will be very interesting to view the developments in this market and the strategies of the several bigger and smaller players. Who will win the social market, who will win the search engine market? Is it a zero-sum game at all?