Google places has gone to be replaced by Google+ places…a tighter integration between G+ and the location based service which your business could very well be using (or listed in).
Does this mean that Google is upping its game…and possibly going after Facebook/Twitter in a way that it hasn’t done before? Who knows, but as it starts to pull its incredibly wide range of services more and more tightly together there are likely to be some casualties.
As your Google Apps email (running on your own URL), your Analytics, your YouTube channel, and your Places listing all integrate seamlessly with your G+ account there are going to be fewer and fewer benefits to using stand alone services like Twitter. Already we’ve seen Facebook purchase Instagram earlier this year and no doubt there’ll be other similar purchases over the coming months to try keep Facebook as a long-term viable platform against the tsunami of services that Google offer.
Clearly Facebook has some other issues (mostly financial) at the moment as their share price continues to nosedive, but long term I suspect that their stock will reach its own level but the success of the business will be based on re-introducing innovation(s).
Facebook was a picture sharing site, then it was a words and picture sharing site, now it has picture and words sharing supported by location based services…but it isn’t really getting in to more areas of life. Now, don’t get me wrong it is a brilliant engagement tool for both individuals and businesses and, perhaps more importantly it has 950,000,000 members (which is more prospective clients than most businesses want or need) but it is still an online community like Friends Reunited, MySpace and Bebo…and look what’s happened to them.
Facebook clearly needs to diversify it needs to find some really compelling reasons for people to engage with them other than just social otherwise it’s likely to find it’s self on the long slope down to oblivion!