The big question now is this: What does Google do next with its Google+ social media program now in the field trial phase?
Demand was so high in the first days of the trial, when people could request to be a part of the product development program, that the company had to close the request portion of the program due to an insanely high number of people who wanted to get in on the action.
So now, Google allows those users who were invited to join the field test of Google+ before the doors were closed to see how they use it so they can tweak and change the product so that when it's launched officially, it's a winner and competitive in one way or another as a legitimate social media site that's here to stay.
Here's what's likely to happen:
1) Google is more than just a bar, its a multi-dimensional tool that weaves together business and life connectivity through a variety of means, and sites. Those charged with making Google+ a winner capable of altering social media and people lives the way Facebook has will be looking specifically in the field trial phase as to how users tie directly in during their use of Google+ to the company's other sites and tools. What works in connecting Google's dots together will remain, if not be further enhanced. What doesn't work in connecting the dots will be dropped, or altered so that it does.
2) Google+ has been billed in the media as a direct assault on Facebook. Maybe, but that's not the only social media site that has value. LinkedIn recently had a successful IPO and that business connectivity tool is certainly in Google's sights as a market that can be captured. Google+ has grouping capabilities that make it a good tool for business circles. Business users also have need for Google's other Web site tools, so that market is a natural and one developers will be keenly watching.
3) The video chat site Skype has been a winner when it comes to gaining users but it's not yet be the type of money winner it can be. Users can talk one-to-one on Skype for free, but they have to pay for group calls, or chats. Google+ has a group video Hangout that suits well to meetings. But the interesting thing about social media is it's left up to users to determine how they will shape it, and that's what Google is looking to see. One doesn't know if business people will migrate more to the video Hangout feature or if young people will both surprise and delight, having group discussions on a regular basis, but that's what Google will be watching to determine how the program should be tweaked for full scale launch in the future.
4) Google says the company is already working to incorporate Google+ into Apps, its online document, calendar and collaboration service. Google Apps is a business program, claiming to serve 3 million businesses and growing including small businesses, medium sized businesses, and enterprise businesses. Google says its Apps service was found by a leading research firm, that no doubt worked on behalf of Google's dollars, is as little as 1/3 the total cost of competing solutions. Google has a lot invested in Apps, and it sees the product as one of its mainstays for the future, so how users interact with Apps is key - more so, than user comparisons to Facebook.