Google+ Storming Stronger – Can Facebook Handle It?
Umang is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
When the hot magma from a volcano explodes it causes tremendous hazards to its vicinity. In social enterprise networking the hot magma is Google+ owned by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). In its vicinity, we have its competitors, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Yammer (recently acquired by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)).
Google+ is like the lava burning below the surface since its launch in June 2011. They have not been a real threat to Facebook till now. This inability of not being able to create its market share has forced Google to improve this tool further. They are trying to add new tools and many new features to make it more attractive to the users in pursuit to drive the customers away from Facebook.
Let’s take a sneak-peek into the new weapons that they have added to their armory:-
Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) – Google has added Enterprise Social Networking to Google+. The preview mode of this ESN is available for the organizations that have gone to Google. This application offers the workplace user not only a cloud emailing and collaboration suite but also features like visiting other profiles of their colleagues, activity streaming, micro-blogging, document sharing, content rating etc. Some of the exciting features of this Enterprise version include Private control, hangout and Calendar integration and administrative controls. This tool might just allow Google to Kill two birds with one stone. The reason why I say two birds is because one it will challenge the existing database of Facebook in ESN and the other it will compete directly with Yammer.
Yammer has been recently acquired by Microsoft in an attempt to say that it is also going to compete in the social networking war. Although Facebook is not far behind in the rat race, as they are making serious efforts to create the professional connectivity by having tie-ups with companies like BranchOut, Jobvite and Work4Labs (at least three as of now), that will pair with its platform. Google also gave hints of launching the mobile version of Google’s ESN version along with some more IT administrative features added to it.
Birthday Reminders: One of the exciting features of Facebook has been the display of birthday reminders on the right hand corner of the wall. This enables many users to keep track of the birthday of their social networking gang. Google went one step ahead by just allowing this particular feature to be displayed on the Google homepage itself. Most of us use Google as our search engine for almost all of our activities. We might not open Facebook on a particular day but we will surely open Google search for our day-in and day-out activities thus ensuring that we do not miss out on our friends & families birthday wishes. (Obviously one has to be logged into their Google account to get the alerts!!)
Slider Function: Google plus introduced the slider function which addresses the issue of social media clutter. With this new function one gets the ability to control the outgoing and incoming notification. It means we can filter which notification we should receive from our friends and which ones should go to our friend’s page. This is certainly not an option on Facebook. If we login to our Facebook account after a few days, we see so many notifications (specially the undesired ones).
Email Notification & mute option: There is a small check box called “Also Send Email” which allows users to send email to the entire group or Circles (as we say in Google+). Also suppose one of the members of the circle is annoying you by sending a lot of notification then you have the option of checking the box known as “mute” next to that individual member. This allows you to block notifications from that particular member in the group. In Facebook we do have an option of creating different groups for friends & family. But the customization of sending email is certainly not an option on Facebook.
Custom URLs: Whether it’s a company or an individual, irrespective of that one has the ability to create their own custom URL. Generally URLs are complicated or very long because of the technicalities involved. But in this feature one can create their own customized URL. For example, if a company like General Motors wants to create their profile page on Google+ and customize the URL, they can simply make it as google.com/+GM. This is an exciting feature for companies that like to stress on their brand names and individuals who want to be associated with certain naming convention.In comparison, Facebook allows you to modify your username which is the basis for URL. But this username changes can be implemented only once. Also your account's email changes based on this URL. A lot of hassle for a common user.
Currently Google+ has only 17.7 percent of the market share as compared to Facebook which stands at a mammoth 55 percent. Also in the enterprising domain Microsoft’s yammer has 85% of the fortune 500 companies which also includes four of the largest US companies. But these figures can change quickly because this lava can leave an everlasting impact on the social networking arena. If this happens many of the advertisers and ad promoters will shift from Facebook to Google+, one of the major sources of revenue for all the social networking websites. It may not take too much time for Google to capture the coporate market as well.
These features are the sources that heat the magma called Google+. Thus here are two possibilities; either the lava will keep burning inside without much impact on the outside surface i.e., Facebook will continue to enjoy it’s dominance in the Social Networking arena. The other is that it will create so much heat that the magma will burn the entire surface in its vicinity. This means that they could just outplay Facebook and Yammer by capturing the entire market. Something quite similar to what Facebook did to Orkut (the networking tool launched earlier by Google).
Umang27 has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.