The power of ecosystems? On Google+

Google Plus

Google Plus

Do you still remember the day Google launched Google+? This much awaited and highly anticipated social networking platform was launched about a half a year ago. “Social media gurus” immediately announced the death of Facebook. At that point, I was convinced those people understood the phenomenon wrong. So to put things in perspective, I wrote a blog post called “Why Facebook wins the Social Network Battle. On Flirting, Sex, Porn and Mr Rogers.” As from last week, I believe we entered a new stage in this debate. After all, Google plans to implement an updated version of its search algorithms that will change how the web works. This time it was up to the “SEO gurus” to have their say on Google+.

I don’t know what type of guru I am – I believe none at all – but it felt like time for my take on Google Plus. And let’s start with the hottest topic these days: SEO and Google+.

Google’s announcement on G+ integration

Regardless of the fact that Google Plus looked like “a Facebook” at launch, Google always insisted that it concerned a “project of bigger scale”. How big that scale is became clear with the announcement made by Google at the beginning of January 2012.

Simply stated: Google plans to integrate information from Google Plus to personalize search results. For SEO gurus it was a signal to jump into action. Suddenly SEO drastically changed: it’s no longer about how to get sites ranked high in search results but about having content on Google Plus. This not rarely resulted in advice similar to “you need to be on Google Plus.” As a result, brand pages flourished like mushrooms.

Of course, I cannot have anything against enterprises and brands being on Plus, but I can object the proposed tactic by the gurus. I believe the “New SEO” is more about getting real people post information about a business or brand on Google+. That’s something completely different from merely broadcasting marketing messages through a brand page, no?

However, there’s more at stake than just the impact on search. As one observer cleverly noted: “Google has a lot of other products that contain personally relevant information. Google Docs has documents, Gmail has contacts and calendar entries, Google Music has playlist information, and so on.”

Google as an integrated online collaboration platform. Google+ as social layer.

Google as an integrated online collaboration platform. Google+ as social layer.

Google+: social layer on top of collaborative cloud ecosystem by Google

Have you ever looked at Google’s navigation bar in detail? You should. I believe it’s not a coincidence that Google Plus is integrated into this bar. Google Plus is a part of a wider ecosystem. That ecosystem is neatly designed through a navigation bar. It contains multiple collaborative cloud solutions, amongst:

Google's collaborative cloud solutions as an ecosystem

Google's collaborative cloud solutions as an ecosystem

  • Gmail
  • Docs
  • Translate
  • Calendar
  • Search

I have a feeling this ecosystem will pay off. Not in the way that it’ll outperform Facebook or whatever other social network but in an unprecedented position within the organizations of the future it might take.

The organization of the future: fluid networks of interconnected freelance workers

Based upon a study by SD Worx on “the Future of Work”, I’ve deducted 3 core principles about the organization of the future:

  • Organization based upon strength individuals
  • Individuals work autonomous
  • Collaboration between individual people is more than the sum of all individual co-workers

The above means that organizations will form themselves organically between engaged people who connect. This connection can occur online and offline. However, as the strength of the individual becomes key to an organization, they’ll look for the best individuals. During this search process they won’t take geographic borders into account. In order for those talented people to collaborate effectively in a remote manner, they need collaborative tools that are available 24/7. And what exactly is available 24/7? Right: the worldwide web.

There we are: the Google web tools listed above are a great solution for future organizations. A lot of people will work through the Google Docs platform, use Gmail, translate through Google Translate, etc. Added to that is a tool that allows you to easily message, share, video call,…: Google Plus.
What else do you need to effectively execute your job as a knowledge worker? Almost nothing?

Google Plus a social layer for the future enterprise, not a Facebook killer.

Do you see the power of ecosystems at work?
Do you know other products designed with an ecosystem in mind apart from Apple’s app store?

Most influential brands 2010 index: where are the FMCG giants?

We often wonder what the most influential corporations or brands in the world are. To answer this, we need to pass two challenges: how does one define and measure “the most influential”? We searched for a list that could express “most influential”. We believe we found one that expresses this concept: the Thought Leadership index of TLG.

Defining influential as “Thought Leadership”

With the expression “most influential brand” we mean those brands and corporations that have impact on “opinion formers”. Opinion formers are human beings that, through their own actions and attitudes, shape those of others. They reside within several areas, such as business, politics, media, etc. Those opinion leaders often base their opinion upon the expertise available through organizations. Those companies are conceived and labeled “thought leaders” within a specific industry/sector/subject. “Thought leadership” is often cited as a strategy to build trust in your company and products – which in turn leads to growth.

Thought Leadership companies according to TLG

Thought Leadership companies according to TLG

“Most influential brands 2010 index” aka “TLG’s Thought Leadership index 2010”

The TLG index lists the “Thought Leadership” top companies aka “the top influential brands”. We believe that the TLG index is based upon a valid method: in-depth conversations with opinion leaders. We don’t have information on who exactly were the “opinion formers”, so one could question whether researcher selected “genuine opinion formers”. Let’s assume they did and analyze the list.

List trends: no FMCG concerns & dominance of web-based corporations

Have a look at the list again. There’s not a sign of FMCG concerns such as Unilever, P&G or Nestlé. On the other hand, relatively new corporations with web-focus seem to dominate the list (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon).

Do these FMCG groups realize they are not conceived (“decoded”) as thought leaders/influential? Do they need to deploy another communications (pr) strategy? Are they not striving for thought leadership? The latter is hard to believe. Let’s see whether they’re in the 2011 top list!

Running an e-commerce website? Watch out for Google shopping.

Apparently Google launched a Beta version of “Google Shopping” (Google Achats) in France last week. The application looks very promising and might change the online shopping experience. If you sell over the internet, you definitely should consider listing your products in Google Shopping. How you index your products is explained below the screenshots.

Google Shopping France - homepage

Google Shopping France - homepage

Google Shopping - Bèta in France : search for iMac

Google Shopping - Beta in France : search for iMac

Google shopping : bèta in France - price comparison

Google shopping : beta in France - price comparison

Index your products through a feed in Google Merchant Center

In order to appear in the list, an e-commerce website or webshop needs to provide a feed of their products to the Google Merchant Center. Consequently Google indexes the data and makes them available for search and price comparison via a web interface on (or in case via a country-specific url extension).

In addition, consumers are able to immediately buy the good if the e-commerce website supports Google Check-out.

Indexed enterprises in France that offer iMac on

Imagine you want to buy an iMac and want to know the perfect place and price for your purchase.
Imagine you’re a go-getter and will search for all places online where you can buy an iMac.
Imagine you accurately archive all information in a spreadsheet so to compare the offers.

How long would that take? How long does it take with Google Shopping?

Can you see the benefits already?

Companies that partner with Google within the “market of the search term ‘iMac’ on Google Shopping France” are listed below.

Just one more thing: online shopping is a global phenomenon

Isn’t it? Why roll out this service by country then?

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