Blog

Guest Post: Pinterest Vs. Google+

Hi, Allen. I’m Dahye Lee and I’m currently taking a social media class with you! It was interesting to read about your ideas of why Pinterest is a G+ competitor; I have some personal opinions about the post, because I also blog about Google+. I’ve also been using Pinterest for a long time because I like to share my photos and images with others. I agree with you that Google+ and Pinterest are similar.

First, I think the Home page looks almost same, the color of background, and feeds. Google+ is the second largest social media platform in the world now. Unlike Pinterest, Google+ is not only posting the pictures or photos but also doing business, communities, sharing interests. I assume that many Pinterest users move to Google+ because of those features. Pinterest’s users are more likely skimming the pictures and posting their images, while Google+ has more communication and creating organizations between users (Circles).

Second, hashtags (#). I personally love to hashtag when I post something on Pinterest. People always talk about hot issues on Pinterest that people want to know about. They want to know how to get their pins to show up in search results. More unique hashtags equal more followers on your blog and post interaction. But, if you are doing business on Pinterest, it would be hard to create a relationship with other users, because it is just focused on showing pictures and missing actual communication. Google+ is based on communities, so since Google+ users can make a direct connection between a business website and Google page, it will allow to build a strong business relationship.

Lastly, Google+ users can express themselves with Communities. As I said before, creating Communities are really important. Google+ has tons of communities to choose from, similar to the selection you might find on LinkedIn or Facebook. Like many other social network groups, Google+ communities are user-friendly allowing you to invite people. Google+ will connect you with your interests and help you interact with various people. Additionally, if you like some specific postings you can make ‘Like'(1+). If you want influences on Google+, I recommend using unique hashtags to find your interest communities. Don’t hesitate to start Google+; Do it now!

Advertisements

Analysis: UI and IA

Hi all! Welcome to the first official blog post! This post will outline the overall look, feel, and functionality of the Google+ social media platform through the mildly-biased-lens of me, Allen Nguyen.

Before we begin, I’d like to say that if you have a Gmail, technically, you already are a Google+ member, as an account is automatically created for you. You navigate through the site through the tabs you see in the sidebar, which is viewable at all times #convenience. Each tab is also color-coordinated and the entire site has a decent balance of white space, making the site very nice to look at in my opinion. On the upper-right hand side of your screen, you can log in and out through your google account icon as well as check your G+ notifications by clicking the bell icon.  Now let’s move on to the homepage.

Homepage

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.13.38 PM

The homepage consists of columns of photo or video posts that are related to content specific to topics you follow through “Collections” and “Communities” (as you can see above and that we will get into that later). As a new member, the homepage will be nonspecific; it will be littered with content related to topics that are trending or currently popular on Google+. There are also “Recommended for you” posts on the homepage as well, which is kinda odd because I have no activity on here. After searching, it seems that you receive recommendations when “individuals find recommended content in their stream through the process of someone in their circles +1ing a post.” Even more puzzling as I do not follow or have any active circles (loneliness starting to become apparent here…). So how do they know? I don’t know. Google Spies? Probably, but now onto Collections. Conveniently you can add your own posts with that little pencil icon on the bottom-right of your screen.

Collections and Communities

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.16.50 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.26.57 PM.png

Next, you have “Collections” and “Communities” which are basically the same thing. In them, you can find a never-ending list (yes, I checked) of pages devoted to a certain topic that you can ‘subscribe’ to (you “follow” collections and “join” communities as if becoming a “member”. Once subscribed, the content will then be featured on your homepage. On the top of the page, you can check what collections and communities you are following and your own created ones. I found it convenient that you can easily unfollow a collection without accessing the page; something that “Communities” requires and can become a pain when unfollowing multiple accounts.

Profile

“Profile is pretty easy to understand, you can manage/edit your profile feature here which includes your personal information, picture, profile banner, bio, and create new content.

People

Another easy tab. This is where you can find the people you follow. You can sort these people into categories called “circles,” such as putting family members that you follow under the “family” circle. Circles can be created and deleted at anytime.

Events

Very much like Facebook Events, this tab allows you to create a page for a scheduled event. You can invite individuals from “People” to either an event or hangout (not to be confused with Google Hangouts). Not sure why they separate them exactly…

The Rest

I think you can figure these out… “Notifications”, “Settings”, and “Help” are all features that most social media platforms use and they work the same way for the most part. The only really different tab is “Send Feedback”. This opens a quick window above your current one that automatically screenshots your current screen (within the limites of your browser). This is a very easy way to report an issue or bug with Google+ by simply highlighting the area you see the bug in the screenshot.

Opinions

Nothing really special, I believe there are other social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest that does the same thing as what Google+ is trying to do. If anything, the “send Feedback” feature is the only fascinating and differentiating thing.

Analysis: Target

My initial reaction to the new and improved Google+ site was that they were shooting for a generally young target. This is due to the very apparent similarity to Pinterest, a social media platform focused on a younger generation that looks VERY SIMILAR to Google+, and even the user interface feels the same (read more about their comparisons on my blog post here). Contrary to that belief, according to Statista, “13.3 percent of U.S. Google Plus users were between 18 and 24 years old.” Google Plus’s actual largest user age range was 25-34 (24.1% of users), with the age range 35-44 coming in second with 22.6% of the total users as of December 2016. Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 9.25.39 PM

So why is it that their main audience is being attracted from these age ranges, and are they truly the people that Google+ is trying to target?

My answer to the ladder is YES. Google+ in the past has seen monumental failures; almost rendered completely dead, Google has entirely repositioned itself to become a social platform for adults in the workforce to connect with one another. I believe it is due to the fact that, for any growing business or organization and even personal brands, building a Google+ account is considered essential. This is due to Google+ being the largest search engine in the world and YouTube being the second largest search engine. Google gives top search engine optimiation priority to sites that are attached to a Google+ account (however, the account must have content, so don’t just make a dummy account). This draws adult professionals onto the platform for the business benefits. This makes Google+ a unique place for people to gather, because it has become (or is trying to become) a place where people can gather and share ideas, while also receiving real-world benefits in their careers (two birds, one stone, amirite?). I mean, this is even the main reason I chose to write about Google+, I thought that if I was to learn about something, it might as well be something that has a real impact on me in the future¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Final Verdict

So, the final words that I’m 50% sure you have been dying to hear for me: Would I use it? NO-ish. There isn’t much that is differentiating this product from other sites. It also doesn’t look like Google is actually creating engaging stuff for their users; it looks like they made it for people to connect and talk and just left… Which might have been fine if they were a leader in the social media world, but since they aren’t, they need to do more.

 

 

 

G+ vs. t

When I first joined Google+, the first thing I thought was, “Tumblr.”

Similarities

Both social media sites are completely focused on providing its users a commonplace for sharing (primarily) high quality visual posts amongst one another. Content is visible on the homepage after login and has a caption underneath describing the posts. The user is able to follow others in order to receive post updates. While the process is different between the two platforms, users are able to ‘follow’ a certain subject, so that you can stay updated with all posts regarding the topic.

Following a subject

On tumblr, you must input a keyword for the topic you want to follow in the search bar, such as “batman” for batman posts. By searching the keyword, you are redirected to results regarding it, like profiles with the keyword in their names, and posts that have the keyword in their ‘tags’ (basically a hashtag). The tag is actually the thing you will be following, and you do so simply by pressing the “follow” button that shows up in the search bar after the search.

On Google+, all you have to do is click on “collections” and you are redirected to a page with numerous options of topics for the user to choose from. From there just click follow to one of the collections. For specific results, you could also do a search for a keyword regarding an interest, in which you will see results similar to those of tumblr. ~I feel like this was a possible advantage that Google+ could have taken, but didn’t. Since they are already under the “Collections” tab, I feel like the results from the search should only be of collections rather than results for all tabs~

Differences

I actually have been a semi-long time user of Tumblr (since 2012), so I know much more about it than Google+. On Tumblr, I feel like the targets are different even though both platforms are focusing on the same thing in creating visually appealing communities. According to Statista, Google Plus’s largest user age range being 25-34 (24.1%), with 35-44 coming in second with 22.6%. Tumblr’s largest user age range was between 18-24 (25.7) with 25-34 coming in second (23.9%) (I couldn’t get a graphic because I had to become a member). I believe that Google+ is working well with an older demographic because of the marketing benefits that Google+ gives a business. Tumblr appeals to a younger audience because they have been trying to appeal more to creativity.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 9.25.39 PM
Statista

unPinterested

Pinterest is another competitor to Google+. Pinterest is a site that is focused on visual content that allows users to find pictures regarding a specific topic. I mean really… the two are almost identical!

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, here is a quick video to introduce you:

Similarities

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.13.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.13.38 PM.png

  • Appearance wise the Pinterest and Google+ homepage theme consists of columns of pictures that are assorted in a grid-like pattern.
  • The homepage contains content from predefined interests and content from the accounts and topics you decide to follow.
  • Both platforms allow you to follow others that are like you in order to create a sense of community.
    • Following others makes their content and updates appear in your home feed, so you can stay up to date with them and the content you followed them for. This is because you are feeding both platforms information on what your interests are, and they want to post content to your feed that you like.
    • Both sites allow you to do this, but Pinterest requires the user to go to their profile first to find your current interests and to follow more.
    • Google+’s version is called “collections” and is always viewable and accessible through the sidebar.

Users can also post their own content through a post icon on the bottom right hand corner.

Differences

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.13.38 PM.png

What I meant by predefined interests is the information that social media platforms collect from its users (either directly or indirectly) that relate to their interests. Pinterest asks you what your interests are directly. They do this by asking what topics do you enjoy amongst a list of options (such as science, art, nature, etc.) during your initial account creation. Content from this information is then posted onto your homepage feed regularly. Google+, however, gathers this information through its  ‘Communities’ you decide to follow on your own. This requires a bit of exploring by the user but provides more benefits to the user, because these functions connect users with others more easily.

Google+ has a community function, which are groups created on a specific subject. Anyone can create a Google+ community around any subject matter of their choosing to engage other users on the network with an interest in that subject. Following a community makes the user a ‘member’ or ‘subscriber’ of sorts in the topic’s community, giving them the ability to find others like yourself As most social media sites do, you get updates on the activity of whom you follow as well.

In my opinion…

Pinterest is a lot neater and appealing to look at, but it is a little confusing when compared to the user-friendly Google+ which has a sidebar that is always in view.

Where is Google+ on Gartner’s Hype Cycle?

So, how hip is Google+? I am an expert after all.

In the featured image (above the title) you can see an example of a Gartner’s Hype Cyle graph as of July 2016, and I have generously drawn (beautifully) where I think Google+ would be positioned.

BUT ALLEN, what is a Gartner Hype Cycle, and why should I care about where Google+ is placed on it? 

Wellllll, from the Gartner site itself (a VERY useful site for learning all stages of the cycle that I urge you to read before continuing), “Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.” I believe it is important to see where Google+ is on Gartner’s Hype Cycle because we can gauge how impacting the social media platform is in today’s world, and it’s potential to grow in the future.

So, get on with it…

I have granted Google+ a position on the Slope of Enlightenment!

BUT ISN’T GOOGLE+ DEAD? How is it on the Slope of Enlightenment?

No, it is not, in fact, you are probably thinking of the old Google+ that first arrived in 2011; since then, Google has reimagined the channel, and so, resurrected it from its grave. Let’s call this new version “Google+ 2.0” and the old is “Google+ 1.0”. Yeah, 1.0 died at the trough of disillusionment when it couldn’t satisfy the expectations of its innovators, early adopters, and early majority during the Peak of Inflated Expectations, which was not even big of a hype in the first place. But then Google+ completely changed the look and feel of the social media platform, changing its concept to that of Pinterest’s rather than Facebook, and forced itself onto people through the increased importance of SEO and Gmail.

Google+ is essential because it positively impacts your business’s SEO, making it easier to find through the top two search engines in the world (Google and Youtube) because Google prioritizes its product over others. I think it was a smart move to make Google+ synonymous with the growth of SEO because while companies become more aware of the importance of SEO, they will make Google+ account. Although this is kinda just making an account and not really using it.

Basically, it’s placed on the Slope of Enlightenment, because Google+ ‘died’ and the addition of the SEO benefits brought the social media channel back to life with more and more users signing up. However, in my opinion, the company is close to reaching the Plateau of Productivity.

I thin this because the Plateau of Productivity is when a technology or application is well-understood. I don’t believe there is a clear understanding of what Google wants Google+ to be, but Google+ has laid the groundwork for getting users onto the platform – they have the most users in a social media network in the world. With the ever-changing trends of the social media world, G+ just needs to redefine themselves with the perfect formula to get its users more active.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑