Google+ is the overriding connection between all Google services. That's how Google's Bradley Horowitz described it in an interview, conducted by Wired, that delved into some of the most common and important questions about the Google+ social network. Horowitz also spoke about the social network's strength in media sharing and touched on how ads will play into Plus's future.
"Google+ is Google Itself"
In describing how Plus differed from other Google projects, Horowitz pointed to Plus as a paradigm shift.
"Until now, every single Google property acted like a separate company. [...] That was dizzying. But Google+ is Google itself," he said. "We’re extending [Google+] across all that we do—search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube—so that each of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are."
What Horowitz seems to have meant was that Plus isn't just another service; it's a way to connect all that Google is, provide a central organization and motive for other Google products, and improve the core Google offerings.
Or, as John Battelle put it:
"Google+ is the digital mortar between all of Google's offerings, creating a new sense of what the brand *means*. So what is that meaning? I'd like to venture a guess: one seamless platform for extending and leveraging your life through technology. In short, Google = the operating system of your life."
Google Watch goes a step further, saying "Google can become your concierge to the Web, helping you plan your life and other things. With that info, and some routing numbers, Google can become your bank," which is a topic Search Engine Watch's Dave Davies also recently discussed in "Why Would Google Become a Bank?"
Google+: Mass Media Sharing & Advertising
In discussing Plus's strengths in today's market and Plus's upcoming developments, Horowitz emphasized media features.
"Google+ introduces a new means of sharing, and one of the things that people love to share is media," stated Horowitz. He added that, while he wasn't ready to announce new features just yet, "You can extrapolate and say Google+ is a good way to share mass media as well."
But one particular form of media that Plus is still missing out on is advertising. Horowitz said that monetizing the site was "not the highest priority," and the Google wants to focus on understanding how users behave on Plus and what they want to make out of the network. Once that understanding is reached, "We can stick to the Google philosophy that ads are a kind of tax on the product," adding user-driven contextual information that Horowitz indicates could benefit both marketers and users.
Whatever the reason behind Google's success this time around, it's clear that Plus is here for the long-haul. User-generated estimates peg Google+ membership at 50 million, with a 4 percent daily growth recorded since Plus officially opened to the public.
But according to Horowitz, this isn't Google's first social success after a series of failures. Instead, he believes that all Google's social lessons and projects are part of the same evolutionary process.
"We would not be where we are today with Google+ but for the lessons we learned in Buzz," Horowitz said. "Those lessons were visceral and hard-won."