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You Can Now Connect Blogger to Google+

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In an effort to begin integrating Google+ into Blogger, Google announced you can now use your Google+ profile with your Blogger blogs.

It was back in July talk of Google unifying the Google+ brand began. Although they haven’t renamed Blogger to “Google Blogs” as it had first been reported, they are starting the process of integrating the two.

What benefit is there to connecting your Google+ profile to your Blogger blog?

Google says, “In addition to giving your readers a more robust and familiar sense of who you are, your social connections will see your posts in their Google search results with an annotation that you’ve shared the post.”

They are making this feature optional, considering all of their bloggers do not have a Google+ profile yet. If you don’t have one, you might want consider it. They hinted at more Google+ integrations coming in the future.

For those of you who blog with Blogger, have you added your Google+ profile yet?

Google Buzz is Gone, Google’s Efforts to Go Towards Google+

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Google is doing some spring cleaning – actually a “fall sweep” as they are calling it, and announced a whole slew of products they are shutting down. One product I think we all saw coming to an end is Google Buzz.

Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product, said on the Google blog,  “In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout.”

If you’ll remember, Google Buzz launched not long ago in February of 2010. If you’ll also remember, it was considered to be a threat to both Twitter and Facebook. I used it twice. How about you?

Horowitz ends the post saying, “We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+. Our users expect great things from us; today’s announcements let us focus even more on giving them something truly awesome.”

Given the fact they have 40 million users on Google+, you can see why they would focus their efforts there.

With the death of Google Buzz, what do you think Google has learned?

Google CEO Larry Page Says “People are Flocking into Google+”

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Google released their third quarter financials for 2011 yesterday and not only came very close to the $10 billion earning mark for the quarter, but also announced Google+ has reached 40 million users.

Google CEO Larry Page said, “We had a great quarter. Revenue was up 33% year on year and our quarterly revenue was just short of $10 billion. Google+ is now open to everyone and we just passed the 40 million user mark. People are flocking into Google+ at an incredible rate and we are just getting started!”

This press release comes just days after some bad reports on Google+ surfaced, as I covered in Four Signs Google+ Might Not Be Doing So Well. From the accidental Google engineer rant where he was very negative about Google+, to traffic numbers dropping, it makes you think the new social networking site isn’t doing well.

But, when you look at the fact they have reached 40 million users in a very small amount of time, do the numbers speak for themselves?

In regards to Page’s “we are just getting started” comment, it makes you wonder what else Google+ is about to unveil. We all know they’re not done yet. They still haven’t opened up the site to brands and businesses. I can’t wait to see what happens when they do.

Four Signs Google+ Might Not Be Doing So Well

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I’ve hesitated to post anything related to the recent news that Google+ might not be doing so well. Why? Because you could still say it’s too early to judge its success just yet.

But after I read a post where one of Google’s Engineers accidentally posted a rant about Google+, I thought it was time to round up some links for you and let you decide for yourself how the social networking site is doing,

Here are four signs Google+ might not be doing so well:

1. A Google Engineer accidentally post a 5,000 word rant about Google’s platform failures – In about the middle of his little (okay large) rant, he talks about Google+. He says, “That one last thing that Google doesn’t do well is platforms. We don’t understand platforms. We don’t ‘get’ platforms. Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down to the very lowest leaf workers (hey yo).”

He went on to say the Google+ platform is a “pathetic afterthought”. He goes on to talk about why Facebook is successful and how “Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction”. Ouch.

2. Google’s own management team doesn’t use Google + – I don’t know about you, but if I was on Google’s management team, you better believe I would be using Google+. Not only to understand it fully, but just for the simple sake of supporting my company. Right? In the post by Mashable they show that “Not one of Google’s six independent board members have ever posted publicly on Google+”.

Really? That news was shocking to me.

3. The Google+ traffic drop everyone reported on – I read it everywhere. Google Plus’s traffic dropped drastically in just two days after it spiked. It spiked because they opened it up to the public. So, it took only two days for it to go right back to where it was. The interest was obviously there, but that interest didn’t last long.

ReadWriteWeb says, “Google Plus just doesn’t seem to be catching on. There’s only so much time in a day for social networking, and this newcomer isn’t converting many users.”

4. Facebook is still thriving, Google+ is full of crickets – This last reason is just a personal observation. I excitedly signed up with Google+ as soon as I could. I excitedly played games the day Google+ made them available to me. I excitedly talked about Google+ non-stop…and so did my social media friends.

Fast forward a couple of months later and I hardly make it over there and neither do a lot of my online friends. Yet, as I head to Facebook it’s still a thriving (albeit upset about all of the recent changes) community and you can tell no one is really going anywhere.

Did this Forbes writer get it right when he said Google+ is a failure?

Now it’s your turn to chime in. Does it look to you that Google+ is not doing so well? If so, what signs draw you to that conclusion. And for those of you who use it everyday, what brings you there and keeps you coming back?

Top 4 Ways People are Using (or Could Use) Google Plus Hangouts

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The Dalai Lama has joined Google+ and is hosting a Google+ Hangout tomorrow (October 8th) with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It’s part of the Inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in Cape Town, South Africa. The hangout is an On-Air Hangout, which means there is no limit as to how many can join. If you’re interested, tune in starting at 10:30am South African time (GMT+2.00).

As soon as Google+ announced their hangout feature, I knew it would be fun to see how everyone from businesses, celebrities, musicians and everyday people would use it. So far, it seems like people are getting creative and coming up with excellent ways to use the service.

Here are four ways the Google+ Hangout feature is being used (or could be used) and who’s using it:

1. To literally hangout – At the end of September, the Black Eyed Peas hosted a Google+ Hangout right before one of their concerts. They called it a “Backstage Hangout” and wanted to reach out to fans who couldn’t make it to the show. Band member Will.I.Am said he wanted to “redefine backstage interaction with fans”. It looks like around 74 people showed up to hangout.

2. As a conversation the world can watch live – This is what the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are doing. What better way to broadcast live a conversation between two important people in the world, where everyone who wants to can take part? I love seeing the Dalai Lama embrace technology and make the web an important tool for outreach.

3. Bringing people together around a certain topic – Food geek Lee Allison is bringing people together in their own kitchens who love food. He’s using the Google+ Hangout as a cooking school, as well as a chance to share your love of cooking from the comfort of your own home. He calls it The Social Skillet. He’s hosting a Halloween cookie G+Hangout! on October 27th and is inviting kids from their neighborhood to join in.

4. For customer service – Dell’s CEO Michael Dell posed this question on Google+ several months ago. He asked “I am thinking about hangouts for business. Would you like to be able to connect with your Dell service and sale teams via video directly from Dell.com?” It doesn’t look like they’ve hosted anything like this yet, but you can tell by looking at his Google+ profile that he has participated in several hangouts.

Have you used the Google+ Hangout feature? Also, what are some ways you would like to see businesses, celebrities and musicians use Google Plus Hangouts?

Disable Comments & Lock Posts Before Sharing on Google+

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Ebby Amirebrahimi, an engineer on the Google+ sharing team, announced yesterday a new update for Google+ users.

One of the most popular features on Google+ is the ability to disable comments and lock posts to make sure no one re-shares it, but this could only happen after you posted.

Thanks to this new update and feedback from the Google+ community, you can now lock down and disable before you share to your Stream.

The team’s goal at Google+ is to continue to add features like these, which will help their users feel more secure about sharing on the new social network. He also shared they will continue to listen to feedback, as well as roll out new features in the coming weeks.

Here’s a video with Ebby of the announcement.

Do you find this new sharing feature useful and are there any other features that make sharing more secure you would like to see added?

Will. I. Am. Hangs Out on Google’s Homepage

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Talk about a way to get your message seen by millions! Black Eyed Peas band member Will.I. Am.’s Google+ profile is featured on the home page of Google.

Google is promoting the Black Eyed Peas Google+ Hangout, which goes live today (September 30th) at 6 pm EST. You can hang out with the band before they go on stage. The band held a similar hang out last week, but this one wasn’t advertised on the front page of Google.

As far as anyone knows, this is the first time Google has linked to a Google+ profile from this prime advertising spot. This will surely increase the number of Google + Circles Will. I. Am. ends up in. It will also be interesting to hopefully hear some numbers of how many people show up to the Hang Out.

This is just one more step in the right direction for Google+ to open up to brands. There’s been a lot of speculation of when this will happen and what it will look like exactly, but we have a feeling a prime spot like the front page of Google will have brands flocking to Google+. Don’t you think?

Share Your Favorite Circles with Others on Google+

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Google+ announced a new feature which lets you share your circles with others thanks to their new “Share” button.

Google+ engineer Owen Prater said, “Starting today you can actually share your favorite circles with others! So if you’ve got a great Photographers or Celebrities circle, for instance, then you can share a copy with your friends.”

When you click on a circle, you’ll notice in the upper right corner it now says “Share this circle”. Google+ notes that you are only sharing its members at that time and the name of the circle always stays private.

When you click the share link, it allows you to leave a comment about the circle you are sharing, as well as choose who you would like to share the circle with. When your Google+ friends receives it, they can then pick and choose who they would like to add to their own circle.

What is Google+’s goal with this new feature? To help you share and find great new content. Here’s a video they put together talking about the new Share option.

Zynga’s CityVille Game Launches on Google+

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One of Facebook‘s most popular games is coming to its competitor Google+. Back in July, Zynga announced they were bringing Zynga Poker, as well as other games to the social network. At the time, no one knew if that meant their two most popular games – CityVille and FarmVille.

The company announced today, via their blog, the addition of CityVille+ to the new Google+ game platform. The game allows players to build a thriving metropolis and has people hooked!

They said, “CityVille grew to become our largest game on Facebook, so naturally we wanted to “build” a presence for it on Google+. Ultimately, we want to make our games accessible to everyone, everywhere – no matter where they play or what platform they play on.”

Out of Zynga’s 146 million users of its social games, most of them are from Facebook. It was back in July of 2010 that Google invested (quietly) $100 million in Zynga, so most knew seeing their games arrive on Google+ was only a matter of time.

Google+ currently has 18 games including Angry Birds, Crime City, Bejeweled Blitz, Zynga Poker and now CityVille. Is Farmville next? That’s what Google+ game players want to know!

Does the New Google+ Suggested Users List Alienate Some People?

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It was just last week that Google’s Bradley Horowitz sent out a tweet asking for Twitter users with 100k followers or more to contact him for a Google+ suggested user list. The list is now out and some are not happy about it.

Tech blogger Robert Scoble made the list and asked to be taken off of it. Why? He gave 13 reasons why. Here are just a few:

1. I don’t need to be on the list. My bosses don’t care. It isn’t needed for my role in the industry or my business model. By being off the list on Twitter I have found my natural audience.

2. Any list that has Paris Hilton but not so many other deserving people on it isn’t a list I want to be on.

3. I don’t want to worry about getting kicked off the list. I want to say what I think of Google without fear of reprisals.

4. Newbies who don’t know who I am make horrid followers. I don’t want to be in a role where I have to welcome new users like my dad to the service. I want my audience to be only people passionate about tech. Users who find me on a suggested user list and who don’t search me out aren’t going to be fun to serve.

His post became quite popular and was picked up by Techmeme and Google’s Horowitz said he was surprised by Scoble’s post.

Some are afraid the list will become a popularity contest.

Craig Kanalley, a senior editor at The Huffington Post, also has concerns about the Google+ Suggested Users list. He said, “I don’t think this is a good idea. It’s going to alienate people and lead to an inevitable followers war that can hurt the health of the social network and inflate people’s egos. As the famous get more followers, the non-featured fall farther behind, and a giant gap is created between the two. This is what happened on Twitter.”

What are your thoughts on the Google+ Suggested Users list? Do you think it’s a bad idea?

For those of you who like the idea and want to find out how you can make it on the list, see Horowitz’s Google+ post here.

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