Juggernaut search engine/mail client/social media platform/space-glasses-from-the-future maker Google has been in the news a lot recently. Between changes to Google+, big moves in the world of cell phones, and even the introduction of Google Course Builder, there has been a lot to talk about. But what do all of these Google moves mean for the content creator? Well, let’s dig into the stories one at a time. Let’s give that “Feeling Lucky” button a whirl!
“Don’t Be Evil,” Except for the Windows Phone Thing
Google recently admitted to blocking Maps data on Windows phones, instead redirecting users to the simple, stark, and not-even-a-little-mappy Google home page (unless there was a cartography-related Google Doodle that no one told me about). Google explained the block as having to do with Internet Explorer, the default browser on Windows 8 phones, not being good enough to use Maps. If that doesn’t sound unnecessarily snooty to you, put your crumpets down and call it a day.
Now, this is hardly the first time Google Maps has run into issues in the smartphone market, but this is the first time Google has deliberately crippled smartphone users’ access to their services on their end. Some blogs are considering this change a direct move away from the old Google adage “don’t be evil,” and I’d say that they’re exaggerating. After all, the Google mantra isn’t “don’t be evil, even to rival companies who copied our search data that one time.”
What does this mean to the content creator? Nothing directly, but it can teach a lesson about flexibility of content. When building content, make sure it works for a variety of platforms and locations. Also, there’s something to be said for not denying anyone access to your content. It’s a really, really easy way to go from well-liked to well…villainous.
Google+ is Double-Plus Good!
Despite the Orwellian subheading there, Google+ is making genuinely powerful, and functional, strides as social media platforms go. Despite early besmirching of the platform, Google+ has proven to be the resilient, scrappy fighter of the social media world, growing rapidly and proving far more capable as a networking tool than other social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn. Add in the functionality of video chatting (and the power for content creators to archive those chats to YouTube), and you have a darn formidable presence in the field.
Now, Google+ has made another big leap in functionality that might seem relatively small. With the new power of Pages (brand-based entities that aren’t human accounts with real names attached) to comment on non-circled-in users’ posts, Google has broken down yet another complaint previously attached to Google+.
In the past, a Page had to have been circled-in (read: friend-ed) to comment on another person’s post. Additionally, Pages can’t circle people in who haven’t previously circled that Page already, which was a bit of a nightmare for anyone with a Page trying to talk to anyone else. At all. You can see the now-solved problem there.
With the improved power of Pages, the siren song of Google+ should be even more difficult to resist. Spend some time and start familiarizing yourself with the platform. Unlocking the potential for content creation is an amazing journey. From live Hangouts on Air to the new Communities now up and running in the field, there are a myriad of opportunities for content creators to get the word out about their products.
Educate and Inform
For content creators working more in the field of education, Google also has good news. With the release of the new Google Course Builder, there’s a platform to easily build and construct educational courses that can be distributed through the myriad of channels offered by a site like Google.
The options for content, especially gamified content, are massive. Quizzes, assignments, grading systems – all of the architecture to gamify the Course Builder materials are already built into the platform. There’s a lot of potential to build out a content system that can serve to educate and maintain a connection to “students.” The connectivity of Course Builder to YouTube, Google+, and other Google-brand services is also a definite positive for Builder.
But, there are obvious drawbacks to Course Builder so far though. The need to know HTML programming at a proficient level will be a drawback to some creators. As will the looming threat that this might become the next forgotten Google project, part of a line that includes six-feet-under forays like Google Wave, Google Health, and Google Six Million Dollar Man (that last one is made up, but cool).
So, pluses and minuses out of Google for content creators then.
What Google news excites you as a content marketer the most?