Google – Leviathan – still strangely antisocial

It has been a good week for Google. They took top honours at the Cannes advertising festival with more wins than any other brand including their first TV gold. This hurts as Google more than any other company is responsible for the disruption to advertising with more and more advertisers choosing to move their budgets to adwords. Why advertise on the telly if you can get people in the market to google to get ideas? So seeing Google on the winners podium is a particular humiliation. Eric Schmidt the CEO letting it be known that he was incredulous when he saw the original proposal to spend £3 million on a super bowl TV ad spot. Now he believes it paid for itself. Subtext: TV is an expensive indulgence… and Google adwords aren't. Interesting mythical behaviour for a brand. Don't just beat your competitors. Humiliate them on their home ground.

It is also the week during which Google have launched their new product Google Plus.  Their latest attempt to crack social. Inevitably it comes with the disclaimer – we're not trying to copy facebook. Maybe not but they are trying to do social and so far they haven't managed to crack it. Quick history lesson Google Buzz came out and suddenly all your family and friends were being tipped off what you were up to. We chose Facebook but Google Buzz choose our social network for us. There was uproar. Soo Google Buzz has been quietly turned off. Then came Google Wave – the next generation email which could store entire conversations. Released so gradually and virally that if you (like me) were lucky enough to be invited we didn't know anyone else to Google wave with. So that went quietly the same way.

The problem with social networks is that if you have to do all the work then you'll never get around to getting it right. Fail. On the other hand if using the networkability of the internet the platform provider does all the work – you feel exploited and spied upon, your personal details being handed out indiscriminately with the platform provider keeping and selling personal data you weren't even aware you had provided. It really is phenomenally difficult to automate a social network and leave the punter in control. And Google hasn't crack it yet. Which is why Google Plus is so important to them.

Here's the site if you're curious. You can't sign up - its invitation only. But you can see the basic structure. Circles of friends family and colleague which you can manage. Sparks for where you share common interests. And a profile circle for you to manage your online persona. Here are a couple of reviews.

I'm not clear how much aggregation is possible. Can I stay on Google Plus and see what is happening on Facebook? Nope. Can I tell people on Facebook what I am up to from Google Plus? Probably not. So I have to chose between social networks then.  Or the social media platform aggregator which knits them together for me as better than the others.. it is going to be a long slow haul for them however much cash they are rattling in their pockets – this is about permission and right now Leviathan doesn't have it.







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