I’m not a fan of Google. I’m probably one of the two or three people in the world who don’t use Google unless I have to :). But as an author I’ve been swayed by the importance of using Google+ (more on the whys of my decision in a future post) as a way for promoting your books. But there’s are some interesting issues occurring with Google+ and what they are doing with their new feature Search, Plus Your World that I want to share and pose some questions about what it might mean for indie authors.
Indie Authors, Google+ and Facebook
It’s no secret that Google wants to take away market share from Facebook, hence the creation of Google+. I guest blog on Authopublisher and I wrote a post about this Google+ vs. Facebook battle that you can read (I’ve changed my tune since I read that article, one reason being because of what I’m posting here). I don’t see that Google+ is any threat to Facebook, but I find what Google is doing now with their new features to be at the very least disturbing, and as we may find out, illegal.
Indie Authors and Search, Plus Your World
Google claims that what its trying to do is personalize your search results by including more Google+ profiles, business pages, posts, and Google+ and Picasa Photos. This is supposed to occur when you are logged into your Google account, incorporating information from your Google+ account. In essence, your personal data from Google+ (your posts and photos), and Google+ data that has been shared with you will show up. This can also include private Google+ posts and photos that others shared with you or posts you shared with a private group of people.
Indie Authors and The Issues with Search, Plus Your World
It sounds great but here are some of the issues that are being raised with this new Google feature:
- People who are not logged into Google (meaning there is no Google+ account to be referenced) are still only getting Google+ results.
- A search engine (which is what Google is) is supposed to give the searcher the most relevant information on the searched topic, not just Google+ information.
- A section on your Google page is dedicated solely to Google+ results (if you’re on Facebook, Twitter and so on, these don’t show up). Google is in hot water over this, with outcries from Twitter. The government is conducting anti-trust investigations Google and Search, Plus Your World to see if what they are doing is legal.
- Google is using its popularity as a search engine provider to promote its social network by prioritizing Google+ data.
- A variety of privacy issues are being questioned as well.
Indie Authors and a Search, Plus Your World Example
I’ve created a video showing a search I did and how Search, Plus works.
I would suggest reading this great post as well for a great example using music. It’s also goes into more depth about Search, Plus and it has some great advice about marketing.
Indie Authors – What This Means For You
The obvious first point is that if you don’t have a Google+ account, as far as Google is concerned, you are irrelevant. As the article referenced above shows, a search for music gives us Britney Spears, but not Kate Perry, even though Perry has a hugely popular Facebook account. Secondly, you have valuable real estate that you can tap into, the People and Pages on Google+ sidebar that I showed you in the video. Third, as fewer people are using Google, you can corner the market, so to speak.
It’s obvious that Google is trying to replace Facebook as the social network powerhouse. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Facebook itself is the only entity that can take Facebook down. If Facebook does something to alienate its user base (we’re talking 800 million users and counting), then Google+ might take over. For now, Google+ is another social media site to consider, and with these changes it’s a necessary one for any indie author.
Look for my follow-up posts on Google+, coming soon.