Don’t Discount Google+ Yet

Okay, so Vic Gundotra, who led Google+, has left the company. And yes, plenty of sources, like TechCrunch, have reported that the G+ employees have migrated to other teams, which suggests a major shift or complete shutdown. But here are four reasons why you shouldn’t count G+ out yet.

Reason #1: Google+ Is Not Facebook, and That’s Okay

Just because G+ is no longer going to (profess to) compete with Facebook, that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid option for managing your online interactions. I’m neither a Facebook nor a G+ loyalist, and frankly I think it’s a bit silly to get worked up about such social networking allegiance. You know, to each her own. Maybe you think the new Google+ Stories is really cool—you appreciate not having to sort and prettify photos and destinations from your most recent trip. Or maybe you think Stories is crap. The point is, different designs, navigations, and tools will appeal to different users, and that’s okay.

Reason #2: Change Is Inevitable

Google will not stop rolling out new tools and apps for G+ anytime soon. Beyond Stories (and its cousin, Movies, which sets vacation clips and photos to a special effects-laden soundtrack), G+ now includes an app that tells you where your friends are and how you can get to them, even if that location changes. In addition, Google buys businesses feverishly—in 2012 and 2013, the company spent more money on acquisitions than five of its biggest competitors combined (Apple and Facebook among them). So expect G+ to continue to evolve, along with the rest of the company, as it draws on the strengths of these purchases.

Reason #3: Google+ Delivers SEO Value

Digital marketing agencies will continue to recommend that their clients maintain an active G+ profile, because of the SEO benefits it provides. Setting up Google Authorship via Google+ imparts a fresh new look to the SERP, and it can yield an increase in CTR of between 30 and 150 percent. And since we’re talking about search ranking and relevancy, don’t forget that Google likes its own products. It would be foolish to ignore the indexability of G+ posts and the number of +1s you’ve accrued.

Reason #4: Google+ Punches Sharks for Fun

Not really—what would that even look like, in a sort of metaphysical manifestation? Google+ is, however, helping ward off attacks by the toothy fish off the coast of Australia. In concert with technology from Shark Mitigation Systems and Optus, G+ sends alerts to lifeguards when a shark-like form is detected in the water. So there you have it—Google+ will save your children from flesh-hungry ocean monsters. Can Facebook do that? I think not.

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