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Social Media: Google Shared Stuff

Friday, 21 September 2007 — by

Make no mistake, Google getting into Social Media is a big thing. With their weight, eye for simplicity and their one-feature-to-rule-them-all philosophy to their software, Google Shared Stuff will make a significant impact on the Social Media scene…

Only yesterday did I make mention of that other significant – dare I say bold – entry, this time into Social Networking by Digg:

“Having friends on Digg is one thing, but if we can’t draw those friends out into the wider web, introducing them into our conversations and dialogues elsewhere, then we’re in some what of a Social Networking cul de sac.

So the recent changes to the user profiles on Digg are a good – if obvious and overdue – step in the right direction.”

So news of Google stepping into the fray tells you one thing – Google is serious about Social Media. But, will Google go far enough, or maybe too far? They certainly have the means and the wherewithal to make a significant mark in the Social Media space:

“You see, here’s Google raking in all of this data. Much of this data is tagged to a person in particular.

If you’ve got a Google Account, then Google know (sorry, see) what you’ve found.

If you’re making good use of your Search History, then Google knows what you value.

If you’re on Google Groups, chances are that you’ve voted on something, which adds even more value to the structure and the relative weighting of the content.

So with all this wealth of data, with contextual values associated with this data, Google should be able to stab at much better guesses as to what floats your boat.”

You know, if only Google thought like Microsoft. Just imagine that…

Google Shared Stuff in action

Google Share - Window

Once you’re signed up (easier if you’re already signed up to a Google Account) you get to add a photo and a bunch of links to your stuff.

Google Shared Stuff - Profile

To get the ball rolling, you need to drag the Share button into your browser tool bar, which lets you Share stuff from wherever you find it on the web.

Crucially, you’re not limited to sharing stuff just on Google Shared Stuff. Oh no, this baby plays nice with all of the other children in the Social Media kindergarten.

Google Shared Stuff - Social Media bookmarks

And this is where Google differs crucially and fundamentally from Microsoft, in that they’re not precious about playing fair and giving a doff of the cap to the competition, by working with rather than competing head on.

The stuff you’ve shared is listed in chronological order, with the most recent at the top.

Google Shared Stuff - shared items

What’s missing from Google Shared Stuff

Currently, there’s no ‘front page’, like you get with Digg, del.icio.us et cetera, for the stuff you’re sharing, which is weird. A glaring omission, if nothing else.

Granted, if you’re sharing stuff out to the major Social Media players, they handle that. But there’s no option to see what other people using Google Shared Stuff are up to.

Most of the main Social Media players players are present, with the notable exception of StumbleUpon, but it’s early days. They, along with others might be added at later date.

Curiously, only the first item in the links from my profile is listed. And my profile looks no different when viewed: “As I see it”, or: “As everyone sees it”, which may be a known issue.

One thing that puzzles me is, why did they not use the Google Toolbar as the vehicle for Google Shared Stuff? In one fell swoop, Google would have scooped up the 4 million or so who downloaded the Google Toolbar:

“According to download.com, the number of downloads since late 2006 are climbing toward 4 million.”

In any case, Google is here, and be it an experiment (in beta form, which there’s no indication of on their website) or a fully-fledged release, this is a major development.

And finally…

What we have here is the makings of something of a powerful first move into Social Media by Google. Only time will tell whether Google Shared Stuff will be a success, but either way, Google’s entry into Social Media adds dignity to the whole space, something that’s bound to prompt others to give more consideration to the marketing implications of Social Media.

And as typical with all things Google, they never quite go the whole distance. Either by design or lack of imagination, they always seem to leave me feeling as though there’s something missing.

Maybe this is just me? Either way, care to share?

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Kate → Friday, 21 September 2007 @ 14:52 BDT

Nice review, Wayne. In today’s blog-o-sphere where sensationalism and/or bashing seem to push its way onto center stage, it’s great to see some people still preparing thoughtful evaluations.

That being said, I’m not sold on this particular product. What is the advantage to adding yet another site to my already too long list of social networking, media, etc. sites? I’m not a huge del.icio.us user, but even I would not take the time to move over to Google Shared Stuff.

I guess it comes down to the bottom line: What’s in it for me?

Howard → Friday, 21 September 2007 @ 16:18 BDT

I may have to check it out. This “sharing” stuff is getting kind of flooded though. Until I read your write-up, I hadn’t even considered it.

Heidi → Friday, 21 September 2007 @ 21:10 BDT

Well I just shared this, but it would be nice if my share page was listed on my accounts page where I get to all my other Googly stuff. And I think Kate and Howard both make a valid point. As we sign up for more and more of these services what time is left for doing actual work or going to the Pub? It seems like a person could spend all day reading, posting, and sharing without ever doing anything else!

Wayne Smallman → Friday, 21 September 2007 @ 23:12 BDT

Hi guys, I detect a common theme, here — it’s good ol’ Social Network Fatigue again!

I think what Google bring to the table is a broadening of the Social Media sphere.

By them entering into Social Media, they may well be introducing people that would have otherwise had no idea such things as Digg, Facebook and del.icio.us existed…

Kristina → Tuesday, 25 September 2007 @ 4:59 BDT

A little late to the game here but I just played around with the Google Shared Stuff and I really don’t see how this fits with their current line of applications. I’d think this would better fit as a feature of Google Reader which already has the ability to share items via RSS feeds.

Also, where is the social part of this? I saw no way to add friends or otherwise specify who I was sharing with. Again, I just spent a few minutes with it, but that type of feature should be obvious I’d think?

Wayne Smallman → Tuesday, 25 September 2007 @ 8:50 BDT

“I’d think this would better fit as a feature of Google Reader which already has the ability to share items via RSS feeds.”

Yes, and that’s Google for you! Google hardly ever take things as far as they should, in my opinion.

“Also, where is the social part of this?”

They’d probably call the RSS feed to ‘outreach’ aspect, but again it’s not enough.

There’s a lot more needed yet, but this is a demonstrable effort on Google’s part, showing that they’re at least thinking about Social Media, even if Google aren’t getting Social Media

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