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Google+ Begins Roll Out on Verification Badges


Google+ seems to move pretty fast don’t you think? First, they added the Google+ games feature (which I’ve been tinkering around with here and there) and now they’ve made another move. The beginning of the verification badge roll out has begun!

The program makes it so that celebrities, public figures and people who have been added to a large number of circles, can have their identities verified with a check mark and a small “verified name” badge.

Back during the middle of July, actor William Shatner’s Google+ account was suspended reportedly because Google+ had no way of knowing if he was the real deal or not. He quickly got his account back and now, Mr. William Shatner has his very own verified name badge.

Google+ team member Wen-Ai Yu posted a message about the new program. She said, “We’re starting to roll out verification badges on profiles so you can be sure the person you’re adding to a circle is who they claim to be. Check out the video below (or my profile) to see what these verification badges look like.”

Here’s the video.

Wen-Ai Yu also pointed out they are working on expanding this feature to more people.

Do you think this is one more step towards allowing brands to have a presence on Google+?

Is Google+ a Failure? One Forbes Writer Says Yes


Now that we’ve all had some time to test out Google+ and the excitement has died down a little, can we go ahead and call it a failure? Or is it still too early to dig it a grave?

Forbes writer Paul Tassi is officially calling Google+ dead. When he clicks on his newsfeed, all he sees is “tumbleweed blowing through the barren, blank page”. He’s also calling it a “a vast and empty wasteland, full of people who signed up but never actually stuck around to figure out how things worked in this new part of town”.

When he heads back on over to Facebook, he sees a vibrant community full of people still posting updates, still posting photos and still as active as ever.

Sure, people are complaining about Facebook and some of its privacy issues or lack of certain features they want, but they don’t seem to be flooding the gates of Google+. They’re still on Facebook.

So what’s the one flaw Tassi says Google+ has? It’s simple really. He says, “It’s not Facebook”.

So tell us – is Google+ a failure or is it still to early to make a call like this?

Google+ Reaches 25 Million User Mark


It’s been a few days since we’ve posted anything about Google+, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s slowed down like we first heard.

In fact, the new social network has reached 25 million users in less than a month, according to comScore and engagement on the site is also increasing.

Last week Experian Hitwise, reported that Google+ users were spending less and less time there and that visits fell by 3%. The average time on site had also fallen by 10%, they said.

But, comScore’s research is showing that people spent around 50% more time on the network in the week ending July 24th than the week ending July 10th.

What’s with the recent growth and more time on the site? Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore, said during a conference call that Gmail penetration seems to be the key factor. He said, “If you think about it, Gmail is where your social network through Google is likely to exist”.

Are you spending more or less time on Google+ these days?

Has Google+ Decreased Your Facebook and Twitter Usage?


ReadWriteWeb author Richard MacManus asked a question on Google+ about whether or not people’s Twitter and Facebook usage has gone down since they started using Gooogle+. He received over 60 responses (more than he received on Facebook or Twitter) and it seems the census is a yes. It has significantly changed how much his followers are using the other social networks.

Some of the comments were:

  • “it’s replaced Twitter totally for me… and will slowly replace Facebook as more friends get over here”
  • “Living here now. I find it interesting because I’ve circled a lot of people who I don’t know and am gaining a wider perspective than on any other social network I’ve used before”
  • “Don’t read twitter any more, Reduced facebook usage, increased use on Quora and Namesake”
  • “Using all three, but am using FB and Twitter less than usual. Still trying to figure out exactly where G+ fits in (and wait for others to join)”

MacManus also gave 2 examples of Google+ power users who were previously avid Twitter users, and showed that  both have decreased their Twitter usage quite a bit.

Although he admits the survey was both unscientific and a little biased, it still makes you ask the question if Twitter and Facebook should be worried.

So, let’s do our own little survey here: Has Google+ decreased your Facebok and Twitter usage?

Is Google+ Losing Steam?


According to Ancestry.com co-founder Paul Allen, Google+ should have reached around 18 million users yesterday. It’s still the fastest growing social network and is setting records like crazy, but do these numbers show Google+ is losing steam?

18 million sounds incredible for the amount of time the network has been alive, but that means its growth rate is down by about 50%.

In a Google+ post Allen said, “Last week we saw two days where more than 2 million signed up in a single day. If that rate had continued, Google+ would have reached 20 million users by last Sunday night. But the last four days have averaged only 948,000 new users and yesterday the site added only 763,000. Yesterday’s growth of 4.47% was the slowest viral growth since Google opened up invites back on July 6th.”

Why the slow down in growth? Mashable points out that according to Google Trends, the Google+ buzz has slowed a bit.

The growth may have slowed for the time being, but as Allen points out in his post, Google hasn’t brought out all the big guns quite yet.

He said, “Google hasn’t started marketing Google+ through any of its other channels yet. More than a billion people worldwide use Google products, including its top rated search engine, YouTube, and Blogger. Chairman Eric Schmidt says the vision is to integrate Circles and sharing with all the other Google properties. When that happens, you will likely see millions of people joining Google+ every day for some period of time.”

I definitely don’t think the Google gods are worried about the slow down at the moment, do you?

Google+ App Now Available for iPhone


The Google+ iPhone app is now available in the iTunes store and can be downloaded for free here.

Description: Google+ for mobile makes sharing the right things with the right people a lot simpler. Huddle lets you send super-fast messages to the people you care about most. And no matter where you are, the stream lets you stay in the loop about what your friends are sharing and where they’re checking in.

Here are a few screenshots:

It seems so far there have been several glitches with the app from crashes, freezing and even no way to share. You can see some answers to the issues here.

With the 10 million people who have reportedly already created a Google+ account, it’s expected that there should be quite a few downloads of the app. Hopefully they will get these glitches fixed soon and more features to the app rolled out.

Have you downloaded the app and if so, what do you think?

Google+ Is Working on Verified Celebrity Accounts


Did you hear that William Shatner’s Google+ account was suspended for “violating standards” but was then reactivated?

After being suspended, he tweeted “My Google+ account was flagged for violating standards. Saying hello to everyone apparently is against the rules maybe I should say goodbye?”

Most are guessing that the reason his account was suspended was because Google+ does not have verified celebrity accounts yet, so they had no way of knowing if this was an impersonator or the real deal.

That’s about to change according to CNN and emails they received from Google. Apparently, Google is working on a “celebrity acquisition plan”. They aren’t releasing any details as of yet, but did say “We plan to add a lot of features and functionality to Google+ over time.”

Being verified on Twitter has become a big deal for celebrities, so it makes sense for Google+ to do the same.

After getting his account back, Shatner said “I am back plusers. I still do not know what happened but I will refrain from saying hello again for a while just in case. My best, Bill”.

It will be interesting to see which celebrities start using Google+ and exactly HOW they use it will be even more interesting.

Source: CNN

Facebook Will Not Allow Google+ Ads, So Don’t Even Try It!


You might have seen this story over the weekend where Michael Lee Johnson ran an add on Facebook asking people to add him to their Google+ account. What happened? Facebook removed the ad after only an hour and also suspended his entire advertising account with them.

Ouch Facebook. Ouch.

Here’s the email Johnson received from Facebook after his account was suspended, which he posted on his Google+ profile:

Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.

The moral of the story: Don’t try to advertise a Facebook competitor on Facebook.

What was Johnson’s message to Facebook on his Google+ posting?

P.S; Facebook – You Suck.

He’s deleted his personal Facebook account, but not the one he uses for work.

Do you think Facebook is justified in deleting the ad and suspending his entire account?

Source: ReadWriteWeb

Google+ Reaches 10 Million Users


It’s the greatest growth in social media ever. Google+ has reached 10 million users! Just this past Saturday (July 9th), its numbers were at 7.3 million and if the invite button stays active, the prediction is it could reach 20 million users by this weekend.

What do these numbers show us exactly? It shows people are curious as to what another social network has to offer. It shows the demand for another social network is obviously there. Yes, Facebook has 750 million users, half of who log on daily, but the Google+ numbers seem to show it has a fair chance of surviving and staying a fierce competitor.

Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab, is very impressed with the growth of Google+. In fact, he’s made his own numbers prediction in this post.

I predict that Google+ will go from 0 to 100,000,000 users faster than any other service in history.

Okay, that’s a bold proclamation – here’s why I think it will achieve that.

The service is great. It is timely. People are engaging with it like crazy. There are rumors that there are already 4.5m people. That might be high. It might be as low as 1m, or even lower, but my guess is that it’s more than 1m people already. That already is probably the fastest growing service (0 to 1m) ever. Now it’s not completely fair, since when Facebook started, and when Twitter started, etc. those were tiny companies, and Google is huge. However, the product is extremely well executed, and a lot of people are smitten.

The next year will tell. Will there be bumps in the road? Sure. Will Facebook and Twitter fight back with more innovation? Of course! But I’m saying that Google+ is already good enough, and the team on Google+ is being so responsive in a way that makes me believe they have a real winner here.

Let me know what you think. Am I being too optimistic? I can’t wait to see how this next year in Social Networking plays out.

What do you think about the growth of Google+?

Google to Rename Blogger “Google Blogs”


Update: It has been confirmed there are no plans to rename Blogger or kill the brand.

Mashable learned an interesting tidbit of news in regards to two Google owned brands – Blogger and Picasa. It looks like they will be renamed in an effort to unify the Google+ brand.

Blogger and Picasa are two of Google’s most popular products, so they’re definitely not going anywhere. In fact, Blogger is one of the 10 most visited sites in the world.

According to Mashable, Blogger will be renamed “Google Blogs” and Picasa will be renamed “Google Photos”.

It was just back in March that Blogger announced the site would be getting a makeover and that 2011 would be one very exciting year for the company. They said more changes would be unveiled throughout the year and it looks like a name change may be one of them.

When exactly can you expect this to happen? Possibly as soon as 6 weeks! The launch may coincide with the public launch of Google+, which should be on or before July 31st.

For those of you who use either one of these sites, what are your thoughts on this? It’s expected that some users will be upset with the change.

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