When Google released the invitation only beta of Google+, marketers across the world stood up and noticed. They were lining up to establish their profiles, develop a strategy and share relevant content. The allure was specifically driven at the potential SEO benefit associated with Google+’s affiliation to the search giant.

Adoption quickly followed, albeit a strong majority of those adopting this social network were in the marketing and technology verticals.

Now this post will not be on the potential merits of G+ as a benefit to SEO, that has been covered at nausea on this blog, as well as countless other places. This particular article sheds light on a much less known fact of Google+, the fact it was never intended to solely be a social network.

G+’s real purpose

Lets think about this for a second, why would Google enter a space that possesses such strong competitors with almost universal adoption, with the hope that they will persuade users to abandon ship and join yet another social network. Most of all, a social network in which all of their ‘social connections,’ are not present. Doesn’t make much sense does it??

But think about what a social network represents. It is a portal for you to maintain all of your social connections, house all of your images, and interact with those in your social network. A social network acts as a smaller version of your personal portal. A location to house your stuff….

Google+ is exactly that. Google+ is the glue that holds all of your other Google properties together. With the abandonment of native comments on YouTube, the real purpose of Google+ because apparent, Google+ is an integration engine. G+ is the one program that can bring together all of your images, face to face communication, video library, email, and desired content. G+ allows Google to house all of your preferences, unique details, as well as your search history and personalization. G+ is able to have you share a comment on the hottest viral video, check the latest coupon offering from your favorite retailer, as well as initiate a Hangout to see your child while you are traveling for work. No multiple platforms, multiple passwords, and continuous configuration, Google+ does it all.

But isn’t Google+ dieing??

Almost every social media marketer will proclaim that G+ holds no value, outside of the SEO benefits, and developing a unique G+ strategy, is a waste of time. Additionally, the departure of Vic Gundotra from the G+ team had everyone speculating the impending demise of G+. Not to mention Google+ wasn’t mentioned at all during the I/O conference. However, Larry Page put those rumors to bed, as well as several other members of Google’s social team when they claimed development would continue full steam ahead. The statistics show an increasing number of active users, which will lead you to believe the network is strong, however, statistics show that users only spend about 3 minutes on the network per month. This pails in comparison to the 6.75 hours we spend on Facebook per month.  The reality is that G+ is not a destination social network. And why should it be? We already have countless other options for our social media attention. There really is only so many places you can share the pictures of your children growing up. That has never been and will never be the intention of G+.

Hangout’s place within the G+ ecosystem

Where myself and other marketers feel the real value of G+ lies in its integration with Hangouts. For those who are unaware, Hangouts are Google’s version of Skype and allow you to connect face-to-face with others on the network, and can handle upwards of 10 people on a single hangout. Basically, it is a video version of G0ToMeeting….Best of all, Hangouts are completely FREE. G+’s integration with Hangouts makes for a very seamless experience and allows you to have one login to handle all of your Google properties. You can connect with someone over Hangouts, send them a file from your Drive account, attach it in an email from your Gmail account, and share your conversation with others via a private YouTube video, all with one login. Now that… is the beauty of Google+ and should be considered much more than a social network.