google+ and big data analyticsData analytics and design are being integrated together with the Google+ redesign but will it be enough for us to add another social network into our lives? Google already has a lot of your data but now they want ALL of your data in whatever form they can get it. The new Google+ interface was announced Wednesday at the annual developer conference, Google I/O, and they are taking a 3 pronged approach to gain your social media attention.

Pinteresting News Stream

The First is a more intuitive, flat and visually entertaining news feed that encourages more time on the site by making it easier to explore and share. Nielsen reports that the average user spends 6 minutes and 47 seconds a month on Google+ compared to 6 hours and 44 minutes on Facebook. The disparity is obvious but Google+ doubled the amount of time from February to March where Facebook’s average time actually declined slightly. The news feed has moved away from a vertical stream of posts to columns of ‘cards’ or ‘tiles’ that can be individually flipped over to reveal more content.

Photo Processing

The Second is a slick, automated processor for your photos with image editing through light and color balancing making landscapes prettier and skin blemishes disappear. It doesn’t have the cool factor of Instagram but stores the original photo and the enhanced photo so you can choose from each. It does a good job of automatically tagging your friends based on people in your circles and automatically applying hashtags. Using data analytics, it knows if the picture is of the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge and hashtags accordingly. Another cool factor is what Google is calling ‘Highlights’. They will crawl through all of your photos and choose the ones that they think are the best. They then serve those up to you to choose if you want to showcase them in your feed or not.

Digital Communication

The Third is an attempt to make Google the center point for all of your digital messaging. Hangouts are a combination of Google Talk, Google+ Messenger and the old Video Hangouts with the goal of being the ‘go to’ mobile messaging platform. The digital communication part of Google+ is the most enticing aspect from a business application perspective. It makes it easier for employees to trade quick messages without piling up inboxes or picking up the phone. After technology media company icrunchdata implemented Google Talk into their organization, they implemented a ‘10 word minimum’ to all emails. If it can be said in 10 words or less, ‘chat it’.

Businesses that haven’t implemented Google+ into their social media strategies are quickly adapting simply because of an SEO play. Google has rolled Google+ activity into their algorithm and organic search results clearly giving preferred rankings to the more active + users. The results show thumbnail pics of the article’s author, their name and the number of Google circles they are in. This is using social data at its best to ‘prompt’ businesses, authors and websites that rely on online traffic to get on Google+.

The Google+ network has 190 million people visiting each month and with 390 million Google account holders using at least one product, the trajectory of growth month over month remains very strong. The grand plan of integrating all of the Google products together into a seamless experience is happening quickly but Vic Gundotra, SVP of Engineering at Google, says that they are only 60% complete.  He recently stated that Google’s mission is “to  make Google a beautiful and unified experience and that your identity is your identity…you don’t have to keep telling Google who you are whether you go to YouTube, gmail or do something on your Android.”

So is Google+ a business interface to communicate with friends and coworkers, an advertising platform for businesses or a personal social network to share beautiful photos of your food? The answer: Yes.