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Google+ is not out to destroy Facebook, it’s after Microsoft

Google Plus LogoCan Google+ compete with Facebook?  That’s what we’ve been asking since Google announced Google+ back in June. Every comparison that I’ve seen so far on Google+ has been between it and Facebook.

And I get it.  They have some similar functionality and at the end of the day, they are both great social media platforms.  But I don’t believe Google+ is trying to compete directly with Facebook.  Its real target…is Microsoft.

Here’s why.

Circles

Google+ CircleGoogle+ is all about keeping people in Circles, so you can communicate what you want with who you want.  Facebook allows you to only share with certain people or create friend lists to share with, but it’s far from the site’s default method of communication, which is to blast every one of your contacts with your updates.  Circles makes it really easy to organize your contacts and deliver appropriate messages to appropriate audiences.

Circles also allows you to easily collaborate with others.  Where will this come in handy?  How about in the business world, when you collaborate with teams on projects?  Google’s Gchat integration in Google+ gives you real time chat, which is nothing new, but it is a solid competitor against Microsoft’s Lync (formerly Communicator).

Hangouts

Again, Google is focusing on collaboration.  On the surface Hangouts appears to be a fun way to chat with friends.  But what about having meetings over it?  Hangouts enables employees to work from anywhere and still have face time with colleagues.

Gmail

Google+ is tightly tied to Gmail, so you can manage all of your contacts and communication through a single system.  So now all of your online collaboration is going through a centralized Google hub, much like Microsoft has tried to do with Outlook.

Google Docs

Google Docs is already beginning to compete with Microsoft Office, but with the combination of Google+ and Gmail thrown into the mix, small and mid-sized businesses now have all of the tools they need to easily collaborate, share documents, and have virtual meetings.

The ability to easily share specific documents with your circles will surely be added as Google matures Google+.  This feature will directly compete with Microsoft Sharepoint and should be in Google’s immediate future.

Google Chrome OS

If you’re not familiar, Google’s Chrome OS is an operating system that acts very differently from OS’s we’re all used to.  Basically, it’s just an internet browser.  No other software…just a browser.

The thought is that all of your “software” will be available online, so you don’t ever have to download and install individual programs.  The key to this OS is that everything you work on lives in the cloud.

Google Chrome OS has the potential to be a game-changer and incorporating Google+ into its core could make the new social platform an indispensible tool in the future. It would become the center of a lot of your day-to-day communication.

Google+ notching away at Microsoft

Self-hosted Google hardware - Will we see this for Google+?

In terms of social sharing, Google and Facebook will continue to compete with each other.  But from what I’ve seen early on with Google+ in combination with Google’s other products, it makes sense to assume that Google’s real goal is to continue to notch away at Microsoft Office’s stronghold on the commercial office software market.

One of the biggest barriers to entry that Google+ is going to have to moving into our everyday office communications is IT departments’ concern with the security of private information being stored in the cloud.  IT departments may require that an open Google+ environment won’t meet security protocols, so we may see a self-hosted instance of Google+ for corporations to install on their network.  Once that happens, we’ll know that Google was after Microsoft all along.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think Google+ is competing with Facebook, Microsoft or both?

Tags : social media

About Brandon Andersen

Brandon is the Director of Marketing at Cision US. In his role, Brandon leads Cision’s US marketing team and develops strategies for engaging marketing and PR professionals. He is a host of the popular Cision Webinar series, and blogs about everything from inbound/content marketing tactics to future trends in communication and technology on Cision Blog. Find him on Twitter @brandonchicago

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