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BLOG: Why Google+ will become Google's only product

Mike Elgan | Dec. 13, 2011
I finally understand Google's überstrategy for dominating the future of online everything.

When Google+ members are in your contacts, their publicly shared or personally shared information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, is automatically filled in, and profile information is also added to the contact.

What all this means is that if you're using +1s, Maps, Search, Chrome apps, Chrome, Reader, YouTube, Google Music, News, Translate, Gmail or Contacts, congratulations: You're one of the more than 1 billion people who use Google+ every month.

The clear trend is the integration of an increasing number of Google products into Google+ -- currently happening at the rate of one new integration every two weeks -- and also an increasing degree of integration for those previously brought in.

Follow the trend lines and see how Google+ becomes Google's one and only major product.

What Google will integrate in the future: Just about everything

I believe that Google will not only complete the 12 products it has already started to integrate, but it will fully integrate other products, like Google Earth, Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Latitude, Wallet, Product Search, Books, Voice, Places and others.

When Google co-founder Larry Page became CEO, he sent a high-impact memo to everyone in the company informing them that bonuses for all employees would be directly tied to the entire company's success in "social media," by which he meant the company's "strategy to integrate relationships, sharing and identity across our products."

Google has demonstrated that existing social products are to be replaced by Google+ -- in fact most of them already have been. Page's "relationships, sharing and identity" language is just prelaunch code that means "Google+."

In other words, the Page commandment means that Google+ is the "product," and everything else Google does is to become a "feature" of that product.

If you think about it, the name "Google+" is another way of saying "Google 2.0." Google is radically transforming itself from a company that offers many disconnected, stand-alone "products," into a company that offers one super product with many integrated "features."

How 'featurization' will marginalize the competition

When a major company like Google adds a product to a market with competing products, it validates the market. But when it turns those products into features, it sucks the oxygen out of the market for those products.

For example, once Latitude is an easy-to-use and highly visible feature inside Google+, Foursquare will find it difficult to offer similar functionality in the form of a product.

As Blogger becomes an easily customizable face for a Google+ public stream, Tumblr will have more trouble succeeding with its blogging product.

And so on, for the dozens of major online products that Google will transform into mere Google+ features.


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