Ever since Google introduced Google+ to us a few months back we have seen a rapid acceleration in features both on Facebook and Google+, particularly on the personal front, whilst business pages and groups are being left behind.
The one thing that truly baffles me is how Google are treating it’s business customers. If you have a Google Apps for Business Account you would have noticed your Google profile and other services being migrated across to get ready for the slew of new features. After this migration you find you cannot have a Google Profile and you cannot access Google+ (and some other services with your username and password). Google inform the millions of paying Google customers that these features will be available soon.
I can see their reasoning (but only from their point of view) in getting Google+ to tens of millions of free users for beta testing, but to relegate your business customers who, incidentally, are the only ones who pay for Gmail, Docs, Calendars, Contacts etc, is well, nothing short of pathetic! You would be hard pressed to find another large company in the world who would offer new services in this manner! Business customers are angry and they will need to do something special to win back their hearts.
Facebook is going down the media path with music services, they have also updated their Chat feature to include videos and group chats, rebuilt their photo tools, viewers, added HD photos and rumored to announce movies – where you can watch together online. In fact over the next few months Facebook will add more new features than they have added in the past 3 years.
Business currently goes Missing
One group that has been left behind so far are Facebook Pages, the features are pretty ordinary compared to what you get on your personal profile! As an example – you cannot feed directly to your Facebook business page directly from your website, like you can do on your personal profile, it would not take a lot of coding to get this feature up, but it seems that Facebook is obsessed with Google+ on the personal level at the moment and with a looming IPO they do not want to head to a huge payday on the downward slide.
As for Google+, well the less said about this in its current form the better. Christian Oestlien, Google’s Group Product Manager, recently spoke on Google+ for businesses and said it was an oversight, yeah right Christian. I can assure you there would have been multiple meetings about this very subject and the heat you would receive on this, so we are left with open assurances and very little information.
Google CEO Larry Page has been taking the axe to many of the services Google offers that do not have widespread popularity and instead focussing on what he thinks will define Google over the next decade – Google will neglect business users at their own peril as they now number in the 10’s of millions. Luckily for Google is the reality that their Google Business accounts and services are pretty darn good and more importantly ingrained in the day to do minutia of what how we go about our business!
I personally think Google+ will be much better than Facebook for businesses when it becomes available? Why? Because Google already provides and we rely on so many of their services for our websites and day to day businesses, integrating all of this no doubt takes time, but once this is integrated, I feel that Google+ will dominate the business market. Not only that, I am sure Google+ for business will also be integrated into search results and other business services such as Google Places, Google Voice, Google Checkout, Adwords, Adsense, Google Analytics, Google Calendar etc. Many of these Facebook can ever remotely compete with, especially with many coupled with Google Search results.
We again learn the lesson of competition in the marketplace being good for consumers, the more robust competition, the better the features offered, the more ongoing innovation and of course the less money bled from our collective wallets.
For all of us in the business world, well, we just need Google to enter the business fray with Google Plus (later this year) and finally we will then see a host of new services on Facebook for businesses and the real fight will begin!