Premature obituaries of the famous and powerful are not new to the Internet. In 2008, Bloomberg News accidentally released a 17-page obituary for Steve Jobs, who lived another three years. In the following months, Miley Cyrus was claimed to have been killed in a car accident – twice – before apparently forgoing eternal rest to perform a few days later. And CNN.com gets the prize for most pre-death death announcements, having briefly made public in 2003 a collection of just-in-case obits written for Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Bob Hope, Dick Cheney and Pope John Paul II.
As a son of Google, Google+ was famous and powerful at birth – and declared by some to be D.O.A. when it launched in 2011 as the not-Facebook/not-LinkedIn social/business network. In the four years since, tech bloggers have frequently reported that Google+ is dead.
New death notices were posted last month, when Google announced that it is decoupling Google+ from its other services, including Gmail and YouTube. On the back end, it means Google+ is no longer the single data-point from which Google tracks users across all its entities. For the average user, the change is mainly cosmetic: a link to their Google+ account no longer appears across the top of most pages, but instead is relegated to a sub-navigation menu.
Google also announced that it is no longer showing a company’s Google+ news feed posts on the “Knowledge Graph” information panel, which appears on the right side of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). A fresh round of Google+ obits appeared.
But once again, the death knell rings untrue. By removing Google+ from the spotlight, Google has seemingly accepted the fact that this son is never going to be homecoming king. However, sonny might make the Science Olympiad team because Google loves data, and Google+ Business pages give the search engine oodles of it. The “address and hours” information that appears in maps and search results is pulled from G+ business pages, and the posts made to a company’s G+ feed provide keyword data about its products and services.
In fact, Google+, like the hapless not-dead man in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” could claim not only “I’m not dead” but also “I’m getting better.” As a result of the recent changes, some tech bloggers are speculating that a Gmail address – not a Google+ account – will soon be sufficient to post an online review about a business. This would remove a major barrier to gathering super-SEO-boosting reviews for your business.
The take-away is this: Until Google+ is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead, it will continue to be a major component of searchability for local businesses and brands.
Quiz: Dearly and not-so-dearly departed
Heads up! Random knowledge check …
- Of the seven men cited above for whom CNN accidentally made public pre-written obituaries on April 16, 2003, which ones are still alive today?
- What is the name of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical inspired by “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”?
- Our take-away alludes to an exchange between two Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz” about the need for a coroner to examine the wicked witch and verify that she is not only merely dead, she is really most sincerely dead. Which two Munchkins are conversing?
To see the answers, click here.
Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].