Social Media | 5.5.15
Although Google+ has been criticized for being too much like Facebook, Google actually took a page out of the Pinterest book yesterday, introducing a new feature that gives Google+ users the ability to create a space for their favorite content. These spaces, called Google+ Collections, can be shared publicly, privately, or with specific sets of Google+ users. Collections can be followed and individual posts within collections are shared on home feeds on Google+. After a user or Page creates a Collection, a Collection tab appears on the profile.
According to the official Google+ post, this is a “new way to group your posts by topic” and a way to give users “a place to express the things they love”. Collections will be a focused set of posts centered on a particular topic or interest. This will be an easy way for Google+ users to organize things they are passionate about, according to the announcement. Posts in collections followed by users will appear in their Home stream with a link to easily jump directly to the collection to find more similar content from that author.
Google provides a Featured Collections page to get an idea of what Google+ Collections will look like here: https://plus.google.com/collections/featured
Google says the inspiration for Google+ Collections came from observing user behavior on the social platform. Users are connecting around shared interests and wanted a better way to sort and organize content around those interests as well. Currently, users have been able to congregate to socialize around a given topic or interest through Communities, which launched back in 2012. With Communities, an organizer can create a public, semi-public, or private space for users to discuss a subject or start a conversation on a particular topic.
Collections, however, offer a more personal touch. Just like Pinterest boards, collections give users the opportunity to establish authority on a particular passion or subject. So far, early testers have created Collections covering topics such as Make Up How-To’s, Inspiration, Tools & Hacks, and Video Games.
Google+ has historically struggled with differentiating itself from Facebook. Hopefully, with this new Collections feature, more Google+ users will be encouraged to publish and share content on the site. Unfortunately, Google+ still has a long way to go. An independent study done in January 2015 found that although there are around 2.2 billion Google+ profiles, only 9% of them have published public content. And out of the 6.6 billion Google+ users, only 3% have made a public post in 2015.
Google+ users may start creating collections now. Collections are available on Android and the web; iOS users can expect this feature to come soon. Google recommends that Android users update the Google+ app on their phones to see the new Google+ Collections feature. Google alo offers a Google+ Collections Help Center that offers tips and answers to questions regarding the new feature.
What are your thoughts on the new Google+ Collections feature? Do you think this will increase user engagement on the social platform?