Google+ has been the recent topic of many conversations, news articles and blogs so we wanted to chime in and give you an overview of what it is, what it can do and what it means for you as a college coach.
Google+ is Google’s 3rd…4th…5th (lost count) attempt at building a social network application, like Facebook or Twitter. On the surface it is sort of a mix between those two popular networks, in that you can add friends, post messages, “follow”, gather content, and more. It allows you to add people to “circles” (Google’s equivalent to Facebook “groups”) and add people that you are not even “friends” with…so sort of like the Twitter “follow” model. It also has some unique features of its own like “hanging out” which means you can have a video conference with multiple people at once. However, if you dig deeper Google+ is not Facebook…its very, very different.
Google put a lot of engineering muscle into this project and has been releasing new features and updates on a daily basis. Its only going to be a matter of time before its true potential shows, in my opinion. At some point, Google+ will be fully integrated with your Gmail, Google Docs, Google apps, Android devices, and more. So imagine building a document in Google docs and then just sharing it with one of your circles. Or being logged into Google+ and having a notification pop-up right in your feed that alerts you that changes have been made to a spreadsheet that you have been sharing. Or picture being able to sort your inbox by your circles and being able to reply to all at once instead of having to go in manually like you do now. These ideas are just top-of-head ideas that I came up with when writing this article…the reality is that the integration potential is soooo much more.
So as a coach and a recruiter, should you care?
Well, as a college coach who is staying on top of technology trends to use them to your advantage, the answer is absolutely. However, will you even remember Google+ in 6 months? That is still yet to be determined. Google has bombed with its previous attempts in the social world but I must admit, this product has legs and feels different.
So, how can you use Google+ to benefit you right now as a college recruiter? Well, you first need to wait until more people get on it…specifically, recruits. The problem is that most early adopters of Google+ are also Gmail users. The issue there is that fewer and fewer recruits are using email, so its uncertain when and if they will get on board. In addition, most of the early adopters tend to be males which means coaches of women’s sports will have to wait even longer. The nicety is that by the time recruits are on the system, a lot of major functionally and bug fixes will have been released; enough functionality to help clarify its true use case in the recruiting world.
The current state of Google+ is that its still in “invite” mode which means that you have to be invited to join. As these things go, the main topic of conversation within Google+ right now is about Google+. However that conversation is slowly starting to shift as 20+ million users are expected as of the weekend preceding this article (late July, 2011). The more users the system has, the more value each individual user gets out of it. An Android version currently exists, and and iPhone app is expectedly shortly.
So hopefully that helps clarify Google+ for you. We have invites to it internally, so let us know if you need one…we’ll get you on the list and let you test it for yourself.
Front Rush is the nation’s leader when it comes to technology expertise for college coaches and their athletic departments. Their cornerstone service is their revolutionary web-based recruiting contact management tool. If you’re one of the handful of coaches who don’t yet know about this incredible recruiting tool, click here.