Google’s new CEO, Larry Page may shake some things up – we’ve heard that kind of thing before, but we certainly hope so. The Groupon deal fell through for them, and now they’re doing Google Offers – it’s the right move, but they still need to put more thought into the entire social media fabric.
Google Notebook: They blew it on this one – just stinking blew it. It’s not that Evernote does it better. Evernote is a big box. But Google Notebook had the potential to be similar to what Zuckerman at Facebook talked of creating with the new messaging system, except different. Not all content belongs in separated “documents” or in a primarily communicative device like Gmail. Add social features to Google Notebook, the ability to share notes, give admin/ownership of notes, integrate Google chat/IM/video with notes, and you have a social notebook – a killer app. The mobile version of that would be dynamite. With Facebook, the stream keeps scrolling and you’ll never really get it back. With Google Docs, it’s static and rigid. But give people a chance to retain and store information, but in as social a way as Facebook, and you not only have a social network, you have a far better note storage and note taking system. Imagine, I’m in a high school class taking notes on my netbook, into Google Notes. Someone gets there late, missed what was said, or was awakened by a loud noise – I right click and share the note, and add a chat to them saying “Here, this is what she said, doofus. Stay awake. :)” The other guy, who has a webcam on his netbook, clicks his postage stamp-sized avatar to turn on video, just long enough to convey a gesture normally considered rude – but we’re friends.
Google Buzz: You can’t just build it and expect people to come. You have to add value in a way that no one else does. Buzz doesn’t do that yet. Integration with Gmail is not, in itself, sufficient added value. But Buzz does have the potential to become something pretty darned great. Integrate it with Google Offers, and integrate Offers with Adwords, Places, and Analytics. Now you have a *social* version of Yelp or Merchant Circle with Groupon and Adwords on steroids! It works like this: Reviews about business aren’t just stuck on a web site – a business Places page, as a relatively dull, old-fashioned, static stream – they are, by definition, “Buzz”. Think Zendesk and GetSatisfaction too – especially the latter. Business owners scramble to respond to discomfort in Twitter or Facebook – but what if they could respond to reviews in Buzz/Places with attempts to resolve the issue – like they do in Facebook or Twitter, except they’re responding to the types of reviews we see in Places as though they were support requests in GetSatisfaction. It’s part of a stream, leaving businesses an opportunity for the stream to be pushed down with glowing relief and excitement as business owners correct a situation or go over and above to add value. The Buzz is a stream that business doesn’t currently have in one place – and that, integrated with Adwords and Google Offers (imagine I solve a problem by giving an Offers voucher) is added value that no one else really has. And this darned sure beats “Like”ing a business’s Facebook page. Like isn’t content – certainly not rich content. It doesn’t tell you anything, except this many people hit a button. It’s one reason Facebook’s business pages are the least travelled part of the network. For business, Buzz could be a Facebook killer, if Google wanted it to.
Google Offers: For that matter, Offers needs to be thoroughly integrated with Adwords and Google Sites. Google Sites hasn’t been much of a success for a variety of reasons. But if you can write stellar ad copy for coupons & vouchers, which is what Google does for Offers clients, you can repurpose that ad copy as small ad content and extended web site content. Google as copywriter not only ensures you’re getting great marketing, if they’re as good at it as Groupon (I don’t use Groupon’s and Living Social’s technique, but I am a fan of their marketing copy writing), but if they get the Google search analytics people involved, you also get stellar search optimization on that copy. Virtually put me out of business, that would. 🙂 Not really – I’d adapt. Google, want to dominate the new SEO – front-end SEO? Then take heed – you can virtually own that piece of it, the search engine optimization and the search engine itself, by doing Offers the right way.
Google Sites: Really a mistake not to have this fully a part of Blogger. The distinction between dynamic blogs and static web sites has been replaced by new web sites. New web sites are hybrids – static content (sure you need an About page and a Contact page and some core static content (Who I am, What I do, Where I do it, Why I’m different, etc.) but you also need frequently updated content. It’s a mistake to maintain the old myth of static sites being effective, by keeping Google Sites separate from Blogger, while Google’s own search engine results tell the real tale. Combine, remix, and you’ve got a WordPress killer folks. Integrated with adwords, analytics, feedburner, our remixed Buzz, and our resurrected and remixed Google Notes right from the start, with Google Offers copy writers available to help businesses, and you have one hell of an everything killer.
Larry, read this stuff and do something about it! That’s my take, Google. I hope you’re listening. As a devoted member of the Google nation, Google apostle, and Google freaknatic, I only want what’s best for the world – a Google that gets more by giving us more. What other form of government offers that high an exchange? Seriously, Larry – call me. 🙂
[image from Gearlog]