Google+ Launch with Brands and Ford: Messy Start or Planned Publicity?

So with my excitement for Google+ a few weeks ago comes the sudden realization of my day to day activities: is there room in my life for Google+? Between Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, my job, and my personal life, I’m finding it hard to get the time to play around with Google+ and find its use in my life. So far, I only have a few friends on it, and nobody is posting content. I’m beginning to feel like I need to find a use for it that is different than how I use Facebook and Twitter. Time will tell if I do, and there have been many articles on the internet saying “Google+ Boring? Traffic on social networking site drops”. We will see.

In the meantime, there’s some interesting buzz about Google+ and brands that seems to hint that the social media tool is already off on a messy note. It seems that Google failed to realize brands would want to market themselves on the tool similar to what you can do with Facebook pages. After brands began making Google+ “brand profiles”, Google went through and banned them all- well almost all of them. Ford has kept their brand profile, Google claiming  they want to use it as a “test”. (I wonder how much Ford is paying for this, and if not, who knows whom at each place, as they must have a very good relationship to withstand the cries from other brands.) After banning these pages, Google then began accepting applications for brand pages, deciding on a similar strategy to what they used to start consumers on the tool. After receiving thousands of applications, Google decided against this strategy and said everyone would be able to get a brand page in a few months.

Messy start? I think so. I think the way the tool started was great for buzz and publicity, but why Google+ didn’t think brands would want to use the tool is beyond me. And then to make things more confusing is the way they handled it.

Personally, I’m beginning to have some questions on the tool after this. Does Google have a clear strategy with Google+? Are they just trying to replace Facebook, or do they have a different plan? So far, I’m not seeing it.

What could Google have done with Google+? Get rid of newsfeed and come up with something different. Offer the interesting “Sparks” as a main point of the tool (Google is known for search- capitalize on this). Find a niche that hasn’t been done before and go with it. Users don’t want a Facebook replacement- we want something that is either different or ties in everything together.

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