Google+ has instant impact on social media landscape

New social media network Google+ attracts 25 million-plus users by the first week in August, according to comScore.

In the news
New social media network Google+ attracts 25 million-plus users by the first week in August, according to comScore.

Why does it matter?
Google+ is already being touted as a potential Facebook killer because of unique features and its parent company's strength.

Still, its initial numbers are far below the 750 million active Facebook users. Questions also remain as to how Google+ will eventually fit into both the social media landscape as well as the marcomms strategies of brands large and small.

Right now, its main selling points are a host of cool new features, including multi-user video chat and the ability to segment friends into Circles so your professional and personal contacts don't all have the same access to the same content.

"Google+ is streamlining the communications process because it gives PR pros more control over who they give contacts to and get contacts from," adds San Francisco-based PR consultant Tara Wagner. "Right now, it's more of a competitor for Twitter or LinkedIn than Facebook. Facebook is fun - it's where you go for pictures of your friends' kids."

While Google+ was not initially going to allow brand pages until year's end, it did let a few companies such as Ford run test programs. Later Google+ executives said branded pages will be allowed much sooner, asking that in the meantime companies find a real person who is willing to represent an organization on Google+ using a real profile of themselves.

"The audience there will arguably be the most influential," says Todd Defren, Shift Communications principal, "so it will be important to your client's strategy. For now, you can experiment until you find out how brands will be allowed on."

Key facts
1. Shortly after launch, Google+ users were sharing 1 billion items each day, Google CEO Larry Page told analysts in a mid-July conference call.
2. More than 60% of people with three-plus years of social media experience spend at least 10 hours a week on social sites, finds Social Media Examiner's 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
3. The US is the top source of Google+'s early audience, finds comScore, followed by India, the UK, and Canada.

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