Logged into Google+ today and found a new button alongside Home, Profile, Explore etc. This button is for Twitter and lets you add your Twitter stream so you can check it from within Google+.
Here’s an exciting screenshot.
What else do you notice? Yep – ads.
Interestingly, it seems that these ads are nothing to do with Google themselves. They are not served by AdSense or AdWords or anything else normally associated with Google, but rather a company called AutoTweeting – one of these companies that is there to serve people looking to automate the running and promotion of their Twitter accounts.
I find this all very odd, and further evidence that Google has no clear vision of what Google+ is supposed to do within the broader framework of the internet. If you could include Twitter feeds directly into your timeline then it could make some sort of sense. As it is, it is thrown in on a separate page within your Google+ account.
Presumably Google have noticed that people spend more time on Twitter than they do on Google+ and so this is a kind come-hither flirtation with Twitter users. But the implementation is just really odd. I can view my Twitter stream in Google+, but I don’t know why I would when I’ve got Twitter open in another tab like most people in the universe.
I was initially sceptical of the value of Google+. While I’ve thawed slightly towards it as it has been redesigned, it essentially feels deader and deader every time I log in. Things like this smack of poorly-executed desperation.
The other main thing Google seem to be trying to do is to use SEOs to market Google+. Links have been hit hard over the last week, and Google continue to expound the importance of activity on Google+ in every statement (and every time you speak directly to someone at Google). This is both clumsy and manipulative.
Social networks arise from the ground up because people like them, not because there’s some SEO benefit to the activity. Over the years, fads like directories and “social bookmarking” have been and gone because while there was residual SEO benefit to doing them, it was also like operating in dead space peopled by SEOs sockpuppets and automated tools. There can hardly have been a real, legitimate user of Mr Wong or Best Of The Web, just as today there are probably few real, legitimate ‘likes’ on Google+ (or Google+1, although the distinction gets less clear every day). Just a bunch of SEOs tinkering to see if they can get a kick in the SERPs by creating accounts to +1 things.
Google needs to develop a clear vision of what Google+ is supposed to offer people beyond “me too” or it will fail. That we’re still saying this 6 months after the launch is fairly damning of the marketing and ultimately, you have to presume, the very premise of the service.