Dear Vic Gundotra and crew:
I know you’ve heard the news. Pinterest is beating you guys now. But hey, you’re still 4th or 5th, depending on which numbers you look at. When you guys launched Google+ I’m certain the goal wasn’t “Hey, let’s make the 3rd biggest social network ever!” You guys wanted to be at the top. You’re Google for cryin’ out loud. You guys have the bank and the muscle to be #1 in social networking.
So how do you fix this? Here are 4 changes that will make an impact.
- Put public hangouts in users’ faces. You spent all that money on TV spots that showed hangouts, but when users responded, they had no clue how to get started or who to hangout with. Make an easily accessible stream that constantly shows all of the public hangouts taking place across the network. Make it searchable by topic to help the newcomers out. Watch Hangouts explode.
- Make public streams on topics. Yeah, I know people can search for what they want to see. But if you add topic boards about the categories people care most about, you’ll push newcomers right into conversations and get engagement exploding all over the network. Part of the draw of Pinterest is you actually get feedback on the things you post, instead of the Ghost Town feeling many newcomers feel when they try out Google+.
- What’s hot was on the right track, but trending topics is where it’s at. Here’s the bonus: Google can do it better than Twitter. You guys are the algorithm champions. Google should be able to come up with a constantly rolling trending topics list that is actually relevant and better than Twitter’s “Brazil Needs Bustin Jieber” and “Ben Dover” (Actual Twitter Trending Topics.) Trending Topics drive engagement.
- Give Businesses more tools to drive engagement. Add the ability to create polls. Ability to buy promotion on the site. Skittles has 21.5 million likes on Facebook but only 104 +1′s on their Google+ page. That’s right. One, zero, four. Skittles is no Social Media slouch, either. The NHL has already come to Google Plus and left. I have to say it again. Business pages are broken and need more tools to drive engagement.
I’ll share more ideas as they come to me. But these first 4 will make a big difference.