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Can Google+ be Saved?

Google+ will be one year old this month, but rather than challenge Facebook’s dominance,  the social network has already been declared a failure by numerous journalists, investors and analysts.

Despite Google’s best efforts, and despite creating a pretty impressive user experience, Google+’s lack of unique selling point has meant many users simply haven’t bothered to make the switch. Sure most of us popped over for a casual look, but then went back to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, leaving the social network equivalent of a ghost town in our wake.

But is it really all over for Google+? Will the social network go the way of Google Buzz and Wave, or can the search engine giant still turn things around? Here’s four actions that we think Google can make to around the fortunes of the faltering social network.

100% Android focus

There’s plenty of debate over exactly how much money – if any – Google is really making from its Android operating system as the company has been completely silent on the revenue figures.

What is known is that Android is the biggest mobile platform in the world right now, with 900k activations every day (yes you did read that right!). Android is Google’s killer app and its biggest weapon against Facebook.

The company needs to figure a much more compelling way to integrate Google+ into its mobile OS.

Facebook was designed for desktop users and its mobile offering hasn’t moved on much from that experience. But the world is going 100% mobile and if Google can reimagine Google+ as a social network built entirely around smartphones and tablets then it could have a winner on its hands.

Tablet domination

Smartphone penetration has already reached around 50% in the US, but tablets are still some way behind.

This has mostly been down to the iPad’s domination of the market, which is focused on premium users. But Google can quite easily replicate Android’s mobile strategy with tablets, by attacking the budget end and winning a sizable market share.

As with mobile, tablets represent a huge opportunity for Google+. If it can win this market and better integrate Google+ into Android’s tablet experience, then it exposes the social network to more users. Over the next two years the vast majority of people who own smartphones will also own a tablet. Google needs to think of ways to leverage this by using its social network to bridge the gap between the two devices.

Google could do this – for example – by creating a compelling cross-device cloud-based platform that integrates Google Drive, Documents and Gmail, within the Google+ hub.

Maps integration

One of Google’s biggest assets is its Maps app that can be found pre-installed on virtually every smart device and tablet sold today. It’s such a powerful asset that Apple recently decided to develop its own mapping capabilities in order to avoid giving Google Maps any more of an edge.

Google is already formulating a strategy to use Maps to the advantage of Google+. The search giant has integrated Google Places with Google+, meaning that any business that wants to have a profile page available for local search and accessible from the Maps app must sign-up to Google+. It’s a pretty clever move, which will also force anyone who wants to leave a review for a restaurant, bar, or any other local business to do so via their own Google+ profile.

YouTube integration

Another of Google’s big assets is YouTube, which sees 60 hours of video uploaded every minute and 4 billion views per day.

YouTube is huge and there are plenty of ways this content platform can be used in Google+’s favour. Even something as simple as merging YouTube accounts with Google+ accounts could completely turn around Google+’s fortunes. As TV content and viewing shifts to the online space, YouTube’s role in content consumption will become even greater, especially when internet-enabled TVs become commonplace.

The trend toward using social networks while watching broadcast TV is well documented, and by integrating YouTube and Google+, Google is in a prime position to exploit this.

Author Bio:- David Ingram is a social networking addict and enjoys nothing more than looking past the likes and retweets to try and figure out what really makes social relationships work. By day he works for MySocialAgency in London, and by night he reaches out to his friends from around the world using his beloved networks.

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