Google+ Starts Relying More On Email For EngagementBy: Chris Crum - August 22, 2012
Google announced some new features for Google+ to give users more control over what they see from which of their Circles. There are three main changes, and two of them just may increase the amount of email you get from Google+.
As you may know, Google+ has a slider feature for circles, which lets you control how much content from that circle you see in your main feed. With one of the new features, you can move the slider all the way to the right, and start seeing notifications whenever someone from that circle shares something new.
Obviously, you would only want to do this if it’s a Circle of people whose updates you really want to make sure you don’t miss. Of course, provided you don’t have the setting turned off, you will also get emails when you are notified, increasing the chance that you’ll see the update even more.
The second new feature is for when you’re pushing updates yourself. There’s now an “also send email” option that appears when sharing a post, so you can make sure people in particular circles see what you have to say. Try not to be too annoying.
The third new feature lets you mute individual people from notifications, so you can still see their updates in your stream, but don’t get a notification every time they post.
Google is clearly making email a much more essential component of Google+, in hopes of increasing engagement on the social network. And why not? Other social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all take advantage of email for the same reason. Twitter recently started sending out a lot more emails.
One interesting element to Google’s features that I’ve noticed, however, is that for some reason, they do not appear to take advantage of the recently launched Gmail in search results feature. That feature is only in limited trial mode right now, but it does not appear to surface content from Google+ notifications. I tested several key phrases from notifications in my emails. Google did not display Gmail results when I searched for these key phrases from Google.com (I am in the trial).
These were notifications of comments, which can often contain valuable information. It seems like Google is missing an opportunity to put even more Google+ content in front of users, when relevant.