Social Spotlight

Google+ Facts: What We Know for Certain

Google+ has dominated the interwebs these past couple weeks. From “shiny new thing” syndrome to the coveted invite stampede. With all of this hullabaloo comes an abundance of “expert posts.” In fairness, I wrote one for marketers looking for a quick Google+ executive summary. With all of this information flying around, I thought it would be wise to capture the facts or ‘What We Know For Certain’ about Google+ to avoid getting lost in the mirrors of this shiny new thing.

FACT: You Do Not Need a Gmail Account to Sign Up for Google+
Just a plain old Google account will do. No Gmail required.

FACT: No One Can See Which Circles You’ve Put Them In
It’s true and worth reiterating if you look at the G+ topics that people are searching on. If someone has you added you, you could be in their ‘Smartest People in the Whole Wide World Circle’ or the ‘Most Annoying People Ever Circle.’ It’s all blind. Relax and circle people (or don’t) honestly. You can also easily edit these circles anytime.

FACT: You Can Edit After Posting
Google+ posts are editable while Facebook posts are not. Hitting ‘return’ in Facebook posts your status irrevocably (if you wanted to say something different all you can do is delete the post and try again). Hitting ‘return’ in Google+ just … returns. You have to click the ‘Share’ button to post and even if you do and aren’t happy with it, Google+ posts are editable even after you share publicly. All you have to do is click on the options arrow in the upper right corner of your post.

FACT: You Can Mute Comment Notifications
Tired of all of those emails you get from commenting on a single post? In the footer of the Google+ emails is a handy link that mutes your comment notifications on that post. And don’t worry. It’s just that post. You’ll still hear from others as you comment if you choose. A big differentiator of Google+ continues to be control.

FACT: So Far, Google+ Is Largely Populated by the Tech Elite
Great news! Many of your annoying high school friends and nosy co-workers aren’t on Google+ the way they’re on Facebook. However, the proliferation of early adopters, social media mavens, and geeks (like me) are presenting a somewhat skewed social experience. Lotta “inside baseball” talk right now. I, for one, will be glad when more people dive in and diversify the stream. Speaking of diversity

FACT: Men Are Dominating Google+
Sad but true. has the ratio currently at 87% male and 11.5% female. (And, yes, 1.5% “other.”) Not a good thing by any means. Many attribute this heavy gender bias to the fact that much of the early user base is made up of the male-dominated engineering industry that built it but still. Ouch.

FACT: Tuesday Google+ Shot Past the 10 Million User Mark
While this is a long way from Facebook’s 750 million users it’s pretty good upward swing only a few weeks out of the gate. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Facebook …

FUN FACT: Mark Zuckerberg Is Among the Top Google+ Users
Yep. The real Zuck. This is reported and confirmed by SocialStatistics as well. Opposition research?

FACT: We Don’t Know How Businesses Will Engage on Google+ Yet
In fact, businesses that have tried to go rogue and form business pages via regular G+ profiles (like Mashable) have had their pages shut down. Lesson: stay out until Google tells us what to do.

FACT: Google Is Focused on G+
I’m convinced that Google+ won’t go the way of Buzz and Wave. There are many indicators supporting this including the early arrival at 10 million users as well as critical investments from Google like carefully updating their sacred-cow search interface and AdWords network to several brand-driven moves like rebadging the venerable Picasa and Blogger as Google Photos and Google Blogs to better align with the G+ brand. This supports my early thinking that the Google+ experience will be the new Google.

FINAL FACT: Google+ Is Only A Few Weeks Old
I know. It’s hard to imagine life before G+ but this only launched a few short weeks ago. I bring this up as a fact because there are no experts on Google+. The people seemingly ahead of the curve have only been at it a few days or weeks longer than you. Roll your sleeves up and jump in. We’re at the fun sandbox stage. Let’s play!

So that’s what we know for certain about Google+ at this early stage. No spin (at least not in the bold headings). What do you think of Google+ so far? Were there any facts or FAQs that I missed? Please leave a comment below or add me to a circle on Google+ and we can discuss more.