It seems that barely a month goes by without another social network rising to prominence online. While many of these are fads that disappear as quickly as they appear, some have the backing of huge organisations, and seem to be building momentum that is potentially maintainable. One recent example of this is Google+.
It’s no secret in the technology world that Google is more than a little concerned about social technologies and the impact they are having on the way we search for things. Before the ‘social revolution’, the default position of the majority of internet users when searching for something was to go to Google.com and simply type their search query. However, for a number of reasons, people are increasingly turning to their social networks for important buying advice. Have you ever asked your friends on Facebook whether you should buy A or B? If not, the stats and trends tend to say you will soon start to.
So, Google has tied the bonus of everyone in the company to Google’s performance in social. And this is partly why Google+ was launched. If you are logged in to a free Google account, you will see a ‘+You’ link at the top of Google.com in a black status bar. You can then click on your account, add friends, follow people – the normal social networking gig.
Where things get interesting is the recent announcement that Google will be looking to integrate Google+ results into Google searches, so your ‘+1′s’ (equivalent of ‘Likes’ in Facebook) suddenly have more impact. For the Church, this means we should be active in this network, promoting content and sites that are worthwhile and good for the soul. Doing so may actually help promote these to a wider audience and potentially change the nature of searching online.