Google, Who Are you?

iStock 000017356039XSmall Google, Who Are you? Dear Google, I do not understand you. Why do you end of life Feedburner and now Reader. Why do you have G+ cover images the size of Texas yet you are investing in self driving cars?

I understand that the usage of Google Reader may be going down. However, what about your loyal geeks that still love it? I remember Feedburner was suppose to go away, yet it’s still working.

The question is Google, do you know who you are? Do you know what your customers want? Are you providing them what they want and need? Do you care what we want? Or is your goal to make it as difficult as possible for the local large and small businesses to show up on your search?

Why is it I just moved to a new developing area near Orlando, Fl and find many businesses are not on Google search? I am not just referencing only small, broke companies but very large chains, big brands.

If these companies do have a presence on Google most of their websites are not integrated, a working map is hard to find. Yet I can go to Facebook and easily find their menus, website urls, local theaters with movie times, and easily see which of my friends checked in or rated them. It’s all just a click or two away on Facebook yet I spent literally 15 minutes searching for a large chain store and a movie theater on Google. This is not good for obvious reasons.

The new local review built into G+ is cool… IF my friends were on G+. However, only my online geeky friends are on G+ and most of them don’t live near me so are not reviewing the local businesses I want to visit and need a referral.

iStock 000017246937XSmall Google, Who Are you? Google, in my humble opinion you have an identity & strategy problem. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know if you do either. Your current actions are not making me think you do. Yes, you may have an integrated strategy that is going to “blow me down Popeye”. However, I am not seeing it.

I use your apps, though not all of them. I love the new Google maps app that speaks to me and is so ever kind even if I make a wrong turn. Her voice is better than any competing app I have used. However, I fear putting too many eggs in your basket as one day you will just take them away with a three month notice.

We have seen excellent result from almost day one of integrating Google+ into our online strategy. However, it is not solely because of G+. It is the fact we have an integrated strategy inclusive of content, goals, objectives, understanding of our audience, how we can connect with them and how we can make Google work for our needs.

My concern is that many businesses do not have the same knowledge. I am seeing many small businesses start to “throw in the towel.” It is becoming too difficult for them and they simply can’t afford to maintain what it takes to rank well on Google. Their budgets are tight, and they are torn between providing content that inspires and connects with their audience that they can easily post on Facebook or taking time to figure out Google, again and again.

Obviously I think they need to do all of the above. However, I am tired of selling them on the fact and don’t do it anymore. If a business doesn’t want to implement an integrated strategy we likely don’t work with them.

Yet it is the businesses who are not doing this that I worry about. It’s also what makes me worry about your future. As where will those businesses go? Facebook? They are already on Facebook. Facebook is working for many and as I mentioned above it’s where I found my neighborhood movie theater, restaurants and more when moving to a new developing part of Orlando, Florida.

Yes, I still love you. I still will use your apps. I just question who you are that I love. It is a confusing feeling. I want to love you, I really do. However, it is the trust that is weakening. I fear you don’t have good plans to take care of my clients in a way that they come first, not your desire to stomp Facebook.

Yes, I know you have an integrated strategy for mobile and that killing Reader is part of such. However, what about those of us who like to read our blogs on an iPad, Macbook pro or even those crazies who yes, still use a PC loaded with Windows 8. Sorry, Google but they are still top readers on my blog. Remember, my friends, colleagues, clients, partners, and community read my blog and they are not all on G+. They will NOT go to G+ or an Android device to read my blog.

I recently lived in a very large neighborhood in Tampa, Fl. It had a high tech savvy demographic. Everything the members of the community did was on Facebook. We had Facebook groups with members in the thousands. Why should these people move from Facebook to your G+ communities? They already have their little leagues groups, online neighborhood yard sales, business referral network, all tightly connected on Facebook. Everyone is there. I can literally count on one hand the number of people in this neighborhood that are on G+. The neighbors that are on G+ are geeks like me, will read this post and likely  find it difficult to prove me wrong.

As I always say, eventually you must find a way to get people “there.” What are you going to do to truly attract the businesses and people beyond something you think they “have” to do to show up on search?

So, as you are making your plans in the coming months and years I do hope you will remember who we are. I hope you will help remind us who you are and that we can have a better relationship with more known than not known future together.

Thanks to @MarkSchaefer for starting this conversation on Facebook this morning.  I then continued the conversation by posting a few questions to my personal Facebook business page and those participating asked if I could take it to a more public forum for broader discussion.

What are your thoughts?

About the Author

Pam Moore

*Forbes Top 10 Social Media Women, Forbes top 50 Social Media Power Influencer - CEO / founder of Marketing Nutz, full service social brand, digital marketing agency. Social media marketing speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. I help businesses of all size integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups!

  • http://twitter.com/peoplefw Lynn Abate-Johnson

    really great questions, Pam. This goes to one of the top 3 reasons a company flounders, takes much longer to build a presence in community, or fizzles all together: identity crisis. I look forward to continuing this conversation, and like you, weaving G+ and other Google tools into my daily online “game”.

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

      Yup, @twitter-429541970:disqus . Only time will tell where this all ends up. Right now it’s pretty confusing to many.

  • http://uber.la jmacofearth

    Leap to lightspeed, Thanks Pam. I’m gathering my thoughts….

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

      Great @jmacofearth:disqus . Look fwd to hearing them!

  • http://twitter.com/RoshSillars Rosh Sillars

    Hey, when Google starting serving up the Yellow pages as the first and similar following results for local businesses. I knew it was about the end.

    • http://www.pammarketingnut.com PamMktgNut

      Bingo @twitter-7150532:disqus . I should have included that in the post. That is what was so frustrating moving to Orlando is YellowPages seems to be first result 90% of searches. Yup, I’d say it’s not a good sign.

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.ala John Ala

      Google introduced me to Yelp and now it is part of my search pattern. Did they buy Yelp? If not, should they?

  • Nick Ali

    In terms of Google Reader, think there are 3 factors: (1) Google couldn’t figure out how to monetize it. Put ads on the side depending on content of the feed a user is reading? Maybe. (2) Usefulness of data collected wasn’t really useful. Perhaps, looking at my feed or what I starred, it could feed it into the algorithm to show me more targeted ads. Maybe it wasn’t accurate? (3) Pushing sites/brands/etc to push content out through G+ could result in some potential revenue channels (like FB).

    Either way, I’d imagine they would have kept it if it made them money.

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Pam, I so agree with you on the small businesses. So many will throw in the towel. Sad between the government (taxes, regulations) and Google small businesses are taking a beating everyday.

  • http://twitter.com/webrilliant Rachel Mc Nally

    Here in the Middle East we don’t even bother to think about Google (apart from YouTube esp for KSA). We’re still trying to bring everyone up to speed on Facebook and the more popular newer channels like Instagram and Pinterest. I don’t see us going backwards to incorporate Google into the mix after the fact.

  • http://www.rapdose.com/ Kyle Fall

    google is killing reader because they are implementing it’s features into google plus…

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisDMcKinney Chris McKinney

    Great post Pam! In my opinion, Google only cares about Adwords, and how they can integrate it into every product they offer. I love using all the various features/programs, but I think this is why they never know what they’re doing because no product offering compares to the massive income of Adwords. Unless tools like “Reader” are an integral part of the Google landscape (like Gmail/Apps) it won’t last.

  • marc zazeela

    Pam – Very insightful. Sadly, until they have some REAL competition, things will not change and they will continue to develop in a corporate vacuum. That is, rather than asking you what you want like, they will tell you what you can have, when you can have it, and how long you can keep it.

    This is a perfect example of why monopolies are bad things. They gain way too much control over their markets and begin to act in dictatorial ways.

    If history is a lesson, this too shall pass when some smart start up comes along and starts a revolution.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hi Pam,

    Google reader hasn’t been touched in a long while and it really feels like a dated way to catch up on content even though I’m one of the geeks that use it daily.

    I think they should have come up with a much better alternative to google reader and offered a migration strategy.

    If they want us to spend more time on Google + and share out more great content they have have added RSS reader functionality go Google +.

  • http://twitter.com/CodeSplash CodeSplash

    Great Article,