Monday, November 12, 2012

The Future of Google+ looks bright for 2013

Everybody is talking about  talk in Amsterdam about the future development of Google+. Only 20% of Google+ features are rolled out so far and a lot will following in 2013.


For the time being Google+ will be kept ad free. But this can change in the future but the environment is not that good for ads at the moment. Keeping in mind, that Google+ is ad free in the moment, this could be a big plus compared to other social networks like Twitter and Facebook who have to earn money from their networks. Google is using Google+ as an environment, where to grab lots of user information and interaction, which could be used in lots of different ways to enhance the over all Google experience.

google+ ipadAPI

There will be a completer API in 2013 - but nothing specific or any date was mentioned. Not having an API in the first place, or at least no write api, was a good decision. If you have found your circles to interact with, there is a good chance to get original content from your circles and not just the same ol' content from Twitter, blogs and Facebook again and again.
At the moment, there is only a small RESTful public read API, the history / moments API, that is only used by developers and of course the Hangouts API, which has drawn a lot of traction. 
And there is the Pages API, which is only available for social media companies with larger customers, who are working with Google+ business users with a lot more access to the circles and write access but only for pages and not for profiles.
And last but not least, there is a special Gamer API. 

Future Integration

From a developer standpoint I see a lot of work being done under the hood. Most API's from Google are changing and becoming more structured and easier to use. Developers console and the API explorer together with changes to OAuth2 are becoming the foundation for all future developments. If you remember the post from a Googler, who compared Amazon and Google and how good Amazon eat their own dogfood and developing everything Amazon as a service. 

In my perspective Google is just doing this now and very successfully. Checkout the Google Apps Script, which is a Javascript environment for working with Google Apps. More than 20 services are available in Google Apps Script, that could be used out of the box. Just recently Google Cloud SQL, Google's mySQL implementation in the cloud has been opened to Google Apps Script and can be used as a big data store. 

All these services can be used through the new API's and there are libs for PHP, Java, Javascript, Ruby and Python. Talking to Google's API becomes a lot more easier and the integration can start. 

Which services should be integrated more thouroughly into the whole Google+ echo system?

At first *Google Talk, Messenger, Hangout Chats, Hangouts and Voice* have to be streamlined and easier to access. The users often don't get it, that these services don't work together so well. Video talks have been changed to Hangouts. But Messenger and Talk are still different but using the same protocol. This is a little weird, but I guess, this comes from different development departments not working together in the first place. 

Next *Gmail contacts and circle profiles* have to grow together or at least work together more easily. Some integration has already happend, but there is still some way to go. The integration that took place between Google+ and GMail is already quite good. Calendar and Events do have some connections but I see more possibilities. 

*Google+ and Drive* have got some integration love already and it is quite easy to share Drive content to your circles, but the content has to be public or public linkable to be shared to circles. This has a lot of potentional if you think Google Apps for Business. Companies working together has become easier, but is not usable, because of the public viewable needs. 

*Google+ and Media Content* as there is YouTube, Google Music and Photos coming from Picasa or Google Books do have some integration, but Video content is not yet available on the profile page and the same is true for Music. Sharing video, music and photos to your circles could be a great way to show to your circles, what Music, Videos or Movies you like. 

*Local and Recommendations on Google+* have become a vital part for smaller and larger companies with all the Google Places. With the all new Photo Sphere application crowd sourcing of Street View could be done and store and restaurant owners can use it to provide views into their locations by just putting the Photo Sphere images in Google Maps or their Google Places pages. 

*Google+ and Google Now* will get more integrated. Google Now is using your phone to get your location. GMail is used to find reservations for Hotels, flights and other information, but tracking information from your delivery agency and more. Calendar is scanned for events, that you have uploaded or set from Google+ Events. You get updates for your routes and dates from Google Now and Google+ could be used to remind you to discussions you were involved or mentions from special circles, where you have given permission. The moments/history developers preview shows already what could be integrated and brought to your attention. If you have done a lot of searching on the specific topic, this is saved into your history on Gogole+. So Google Now can use this information to bring new content to your attention, if you have created a Google Now Card for it. Behind Google Now is the Knowledge Graph, that is based on the freebase database with millions of semantic informations in the graph. 

Now imagine, that for every user on Google+ there is a smaller Knowledge graph around your cirlces, interactions, likes and participations in events, check-ins and more and Google Now can use this information if you give permission to use it. There could be Cards for mentioning, that your inner circles are just checking in to a restaurant near you. And a lot more possibilities come to mind and the future looks even brighter.