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What is the soul of Chromebooks?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

Google Chromebooks fly under the banner “Nothing but the web.”

The tagline continues, “Chromebooks are built and optimized for the web, where you already spend most of your computing time. So you get a faster, simpler and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers.”

Is “Nothing but the web” the soul of Chromebooks? Is the heart and magic of Chromebooks a “faster, simpler and more secure [web] experience without all of the headaches”?

In what follows, I argue that the web experience is penultimate. Something more fundamental and deeper ultimately shapes the soul of Chromebooks.

The soul of Chromebooks is freedom.

Whether you were raised on Windows PCs, Macs, or flavors of Linux, the story is the same: the machines control the users; and the users serve the machines in order to have their needs met. Users install, troubleshoot, download, upgrade, repair, re-install, scan, and backup all in order to use the machines to accomplish tasks.

In the old way of computing, the machines control the users, and users serve the machines. Ironically, with control comes power and the power to create culture. Apple user groups, iPhone queue lines, and WWDC participants exemplify the power on an Operating System to create a culture where users are enslaved and controlled by machines.

Chromebooks unmask and upend this paradigm. With Chromebooks, the users control the machines, and the machines serve the users.

The machines upgrade, download, install, improve, and backup themselves. If machines need to be repaired, there’s nothing to reinstall: just power-up, log-in, and go to work. All of your settings are synced. All of your data is backed up.

Chromebooks transfer control to users. Users are set free to get on the web fast. Users retain power over their machines. Machines serve the users. Chromebooks create culture, but now the culture is centered around the interests of users, not the machines themselves. 

Chromebooks bring freedom. Users are set free from serving computers, free from updates and upgrades, backups and set-ups, repairs and restores, and viruses and malware. Users are set free from worry or concern if Chromebooks die or disappear.

“Nothing but the web” is penultimate. The web is the means, but not the soul of the Chromebook experience. Put an SSD (digital hard drive) in any laptop and you’ll get on the web fast in less than 30 seconds, but boot times alone are not enough. Fast on the web by itself will not transfer power and control back to users.

Chromebooks, unlike any other operating system, offer something more than fast web access. Chromebooks offer freedom.

The soul of Chromebooks is freedom.

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

Accomplishing More Virtually-in Second Life - Upcoming Popular People-OnTheGo webinar

People-OnTheGo Complete Webinars Schedule and Registration (Q4, 2011)

Topics: guest bloggers, Technology

Google Chromebooks: I'll show you how to make the move (part 4)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

If you’ve been with us, you’re an expert on Chromebooks, Google’s fast-on-the-web, super secure, continuously improving notebook computers. In this post, I want to help you make the move to a Chromebook, by showing you what I did.

Email

My first step to prepare for a Chomebook was moving my email to Gmail. Importing my Mac address book was straightforward, and to my surprise, I could even use a custom domain with Gmail. Today, I use Gmail in a web browser, along with its many features from labs to filters.

Images

Like many of you, I had a large library of photos, most of which were stored on my hard drive. I knew this had to change. After exploring many good options, I settled on SmugMug. I uploaded my entire library to SmugMug, where all of my images are now stored.

Documents

I began creating all new documents and spreadsheets in Google Docs, and over time, I created new web-versions of existing, highly used spreadsheets. Also, I uploaded my archive of old documents, which was a breeze thanks to recent enhancements in Google Docs.

Music

Coming from the Mac world, I had purchased music through iTunes. Although my music library wasn't large, I didn’t want to give it up, so I uploaded my music to Amazon Cloud Drive and to Google Music Beta.

I prefer Google Music because of the seamless integration. More recently, I’ve been testing web-streaming services, ranging from Pandora to Sky.fm, and from Grooveshark to Rdio, all of which I’ve come to enjoy.

Checkbook

One of the most difficult steps in my transition has been our personal checkbook. We had years of data stored in a desktop application. I found the online, cloud-checkbook services lacking, so imported the data into a Google Spreadsheet. Amazingly, I can sort and filter the 2,000 row spreadsheet with ease. Since we pay most of our bills online, we don’t need to print checks. Google Spreadsheets is more than adequate for our needs.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting, which requires Java, won’t run on a Chromebook. I tried running the service by accessing a desktop computer with LogMeIn and Teamviewer, but neither worked satisfactorily. Two weeks ago, Google introduced Google Remote Desktop beta, a cross-platform application that enables you to connect any two computers with a Chrome browser. I’m excited to report that this app looks especially promising, and now I can work around the Java limitation by connecting to a traditional computer.

Current Status: Continuous Improvement

Over the last 10 months, my experience with Chromebooks has been one of continuous improvement. The Chrome operating system is a hundred times better than it was when I first booted-up a Cr-48 pilot Chromebook, and I’ve learned to overcome the apparent limitations. Today, a Samsung Chromebook is my laptop of choice.

Is anything holding me back?

No, but. A Chromebook fits my needs, but .... It’s easier to review and comment on a long Word document with Microsoft Office than Google Docs. I haven’t figured out (yet) how to scan using a Chromebook. Although I can attend a GoToMeeting using Remote Desktop, to be honest, it’s easier on a traditional computer. (Hopefully, Citrix will abandon Java.) Lastly, I’m involved in a business that uses QuickBooks, and although QuickBooks offers a cloud version, the other users are reluctant to make the move.

Will I go back?

Nope. Not a chance! I’ve spent hours and hours updating, backing up, and restoring traditional computers. Chromebooks are a dream-come-true. Someone called them “throw-away computers.” One Google employee remarked that she’s literally given hers away when asked by a co-worker.

Chromebooks have changed my computing. Yesterday, the means was often the end: keeping computers working was the work. Today, Chromebooks are the means. Without the need to worry about updates, backups, and crashes, I can focus on my work, not on keeping my computer running. In short, I’m totally sold on Chromebooks.

Now that I’ve shared my story, I want to hear yours. Will a Chromebook work for you? What's holding you back?

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

Accomplishing More Virtually-in Second Life - Upcoming Popular People-OnTheGo webinar

People-OnTheGo Complete Webinars Schedule and Registration (Q4, 2011)

Topics: guest bloggers, Technology

Google Chromebooks: drawbacks and limitations (part 3)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

A Google Chromebook is a fast, secure notebook computer that runs only a Chrome web browser. In our first post, we learned that it boots in 8 seconds, updates itself, and delivers unparalleled security. In our second post, we learned the key differences between Chromebooks and traditional notebooks. 

Since a web browser is a Chromebook’s only application, there are some limitations.

Connectivity Limitations

Arguably, connectivity is the biggest drawback: no Internet; no work. Without Internet, you can’t do much.

I say “arguably” for two reasons. First, some models come with 3G, in addition to the standard WiFi, which broadens access. Second, late this summer, Google began rolling out offline Gmail and Google Apps. Functionality is limited, but quickly improving. Chromebooks will soon work offline, all of the way from San Francisco to Beijing.

Software Limitations

The most significant drawback is software. Since standard programs won't run on a Chromebook, some tasks are more difficult than others. Let’s examine this limitation for three groups of users:

Corporate Users

  • Legacy Office data. Longtime Microsoft Office users often have countless Word and Excel files archived, and moving these to the cloud comes at a cost. Unless your a Google Apps customer, a Chromebook may not be for you. 
  • Desktop access. Citrix recently announced beta testing for its Citrix Receiver for Chrome OS, but it requires a server-side host. Google just introduced Chrome Remote Desktop, which looks especially promising! 
  • GoToMeeting. Chrome OS does not support Java, so apps like GoToMeeting will not run on a Chromebook. 
  • VPN. VPN connectivity is limited but developing. 

Higher Education Users

  • Word-centric institutions. If you are required to submit your work as Word files, then you must export from Google Docs, where formatting preservation is improving, but not trouble-free. The same is true for documents with comments. 
  • Word power-users. If you rely on custom keyboard shortcuts and auto-everything, Google Docs may be frustrating.
  • Academic papers. Reference and citation management software, such as Zotero, Mendeley, or RefWorks, currently do not integrate with Google Docs. Formatting lengthy Word documents with MLA or Chicago can be difficult. 

Individual Users

  • Applications. Many applications don’t run in a web browser — Skype, Spotify, and Photoshop, to name a few. Fortunately, this is easy to work around, using web-apps such as Google Talk, Rdio, and Picnik.
  • Standalone email. Email must be read on the web. Stand-alone email applications, such as Outlook or Apple Mail, won’t run on a Chromebook. 
  • Music. Those with large music libraries must either upload their music to cloud-storage services such as Amazon Cloud Drive or Google Music Beta, or they must utilize a web streaming service such as Grooveshark or Rdio. 
  • Video. If your an iMovie-producer, the new YouTube editing features may be inadequate for your needs. 
  • Image editing. Although an image editor is built into Chrome OS, it will never satisfy Photoshop gurus accustomed to working with brushes and layers. 
  • Image storage. Those with large image libraries will want to move their images to cloud-storage services such as Picasa, Flickr, or SmugMug.

To sum-up, if you produce movies, manipulate images, or write technical manuscripts, you probably need more than a web browser. Also, if you run custom desktop applications, web versions may not be offered.

In spite of these limitations, I am convinced that the Google Chromebook is a compelling choice for many today. More and more applications are running in a web browser, and Chromebooks are continuously improving and will soon work even offline. 

The Google Chromebook has a strong future, both for individuals and for corporate and education users. Join the revolution and say, “Goodbye,” to updates, backups, and viruses. What’s holding your back?

What do you think? Does the Chromebook have a future? Who will use it? Will it work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

Accomplishing More Virtually-in Second Life - Upcoming Popular People-OnTheGo webinar

People-OnTheGo Complete Webinars Schedule and Registration (Q4, 2011)

Topics: guest bloggers, Technology

Google Chromebooks vs. Traditional Computers (part 2)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

In our first post, we said that a Google Chromebook is a fast, secure notebook computer that runs a Chrome web browser.

In this post, let’s contrast a traditional computer, whether Windows, Mac, or Linux, with the new Chromebook.

Overview: where's the action? 

Data Storage. On a traditional computer, the data, whether documents, spreadsheets, images, or MP3 files, is stored on your computer. On a Chromebook, the data is stored on the web, or as one person commented, "Google Docs is your hard drive."

Applications. On a traditional computer, you install and run applications on your computer. On a Chromebook, the only application that runs on your computer is a web browser. All other applications run on the web.

Maintenance. On a traditional computer, you maintain the software, and you backup your data. On a Chromebook, you sign-in and the web does the rest. The web updates your Chromebook, maintains your applications, and stores and protects your data.

iCloud vs. Chrombooks 

If you have an iPhone or Mac, you may be familiar with iCloud. iCloud keeps your data in-sync on your Apple mobile devices. iCloud does not make a Mac into a "cloud computer"; you must download documents to your hard drive in order to edit them. You cannot edit iCloud documents in a web browser, nor can you collaborate or share them with others. On a Chromebook, the data resides in the cloud where it can be viewed, edited, shared, and stored. 

SkyDrive vs. Chromebooks 

Microsoft's SkyDrive is similar to Google Docs; documents can be created and edited in a browser, and stored on the web. SkyDrive, however, differs from Google Docs, because documents can also be downloaded and edited in Microsoft Office on a user's computer. SkyDrive can also sync data stored in the cloud across multiple Windows devices. A Windows computer can function as a Chromebook-like cloud-computer, but fundamentally, it's a traditional computer. 

Security: is the web safe?

An interlocutor would relish the chance to ruin our fun by asking, “What about security? You want me to store my data on the web? Ha! Not a chance!”

Chromebooks use the principle of “defense in depth,” claims Google. Through sandboxing, verified boot, data encryption, recovery, and guest mode, Chromebooks are designed to be more secure than your present computer.

Hardware: who makes Chromebooks? 

Two vendors offer Chromebooks, Samsung and Acer, and both are similarly spec’d:

  • dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • screen size - 12.1 in (Samsung) or 11.6 in (Acer)
  • full-size keyboard
  • WiFi only or WiFi + 3G

Chromebook 3

Chromebooks cost $300 to $500. Education and business users can lease Chromebooks for around $28 per month, which includes updates, tech support, and hardware replacements.

Do you think that a Chromebook would work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

Accomplishing More Virtually-in Second Life - Upcoming Popular People-OnTheGo webinar

People-OnTheGo Complete Webinars Schedule and Registration (Q4, 2011)

Topics: guest bloggers, Technology

Google Chromebooks: What are they? (part 1)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

It’s Monday morning, and you’re in a hurry for work. As you back out of the garage, you feel a sudden bump. Startled, you jerk to a stop, jump out, and discover that your car just flattened your computer.

Face it. You just ruined your day.

If you use a conventional laptop running Windows, Mac OS X, or some flavor of Linux, it will take all day to setup a new computer, assuming, of course, that you have a backup.

But, if you’re on a Google Chromebook, no worries! You can setup a new Chromebook in less time than it takes to grab a Frappuccino on your way to work. You’ll be working full speed before you finish your morning fix.

Chromebook 1

What is a Google Chromebook?

A Google Chromebook is a laptop computer that runs the Chrome Operating System, an open source operating system based on Linux that Google began developing in 2009.

A Google Chromebook

  • runs one program, a Chrome web browser; 
  • boots in 8 seconds and resumes instantly;
  • lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge; 
  • updates itself automatically; 
  • continuously improves itself; 
  • sets up in less than 10 minutes;
  • is always backed up;
  • is completely secure;
  • is immune to malware and viruses; 
  • weighs just over 3 lbs; and
  • accesses the web on WiFi or 3G.

Try the following experiment to see if your ready for a Chromebook. On your computer

  • download and install Chrome, Google’s web browser; 
  • close all applications; 
  • start only the Chrome browser; and 
  • do all of your work in your browser.

“All of my work?” you ask. “How can I possibly do all of my work in only a browser?”

If you’re a Google Apps user, you know the answer: You use Gmail for email; Google Calendar for your appointments; Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations; Picasa to view and edit photos; and Google Music Beta to stream your tunes.

What do you think? Can you do all of your work in a web browser? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

Accomplishing More Virtually-in Second Life - Upcoming Popular People-OnTheGo webinar

People-OnTheGo Complete Webinars Schedule and Registration (Q4, 2011)

Topics: guest bloggers, Technology

Google Security: learn to hack-proof your Google Account

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

Do you store sensitive data in Gmail and Google Docs? If so, is your data safe? Is your account hack-proof? 

In our last post you learned the key steps to make your Gmail secure. Today, I want to show you how to check your critical Google Account settings and how to set-up 2-Step Verification.

First, let’s update your Google Account settings. As shown in the following screenshot, click your name in the upper right corner of Gmail or Google Docs, and select Account Settings in the drop-down menu.

security 5

Let’s work though each of the items on the Account Overview page, as shown in the next screenshot. 

security 6

Password

It’s a good idea to periodically change your password. Google recommends ...

  • Pick a unique password that you haven't previously used on other sites or on Gmail. Just changing one character or number isn’t enough.
  • Don't use a dictionary word or a common word that's easily guessable.
  • Use a combination of numbers, characters, and case-sensitive letters to make your password impossible to guess.

Make sure that your password recovery options are up-to-date, so you can access your account if you forget your password, something that we all do. You can set-up your own secret question, backup email address, and SMS number. Again, make your answers guess-proof.

Authorizing applications & sites

Click edit and make sure that the authorized websites are ones that you have approved. If your Google Account has been compromised, it's possible that the bad guys have authorized their own websites. This may allow them to access your Google Account after you have changed your password.

Use 2-step verification

Two-step verification will make your Google Account 99.9% hack-proof by adding an extra layer of security.

With 2-step verification, signing in to your Google Account requires two steps:

  1. Password. First, you enter your Google Account password as normal. 
  2. Code. Next, you’ll be prompted for a time-sensitive, random 6 digit code.

Watch the following short, 3:28 Google video to learn about 2-step verification, and then we’ll set-up your account.

 

 

Setting up 2-step verification

  • On the Account overview page, click edit next to Using 2-step verification (see screenshots above).
  • A help screen will open. Click Start setup.
  • Select how you want to receive your verification codes: SMS, voice call, or on your smart phone.
  • Next, add a backup number to ensure that you can receive a verification code to sign-in even if your primary phone isn't available or working.
  • Finally, record or print your backup codes and store them in your purse or wallet.

Application-specific Passwords

After you set-up 2-step verification, some applications that access your Google Account (such as Gmail on your phone or Outlook) cannot ask for verification codes. Instead of verification codes, you'll enter application-specific passwords.

For a complete list of applications that require new, unique passwords see this this Google help article. This article also explains how to generate and enter these passwords.

To set-up application-specific passwords,

  • Click on edit next to Authorizing applications & sites on the Account Overview page (see screenshot above).  
  • Locate the Application-specific password section at the bottom of the screen. 
  • Enter a Name and click Generate password
  • Copy the password and either paste or enter it in the application.

There is no need to remember these passwords. You only need to authorize an application once.

Whew, great job! Your Google Account will be 99.9% hack-proof by using a strong password, reviewing authorized sites, and implementing 2-step verification. 

In the comments below, let me know what steps that you've taken to protect your Google Account. 

Additional Resources

Gmail Security Checklist - Google Help Document

Google Two-Step Verification - Google Help Document

Managing and Organizing Your E-mail Inbox--Using Google Apps - People-OnTheGo webinar series

Inbox Freedom - People-OnTheGo webinar series

Topics: Gmail, Technology, email management

Google Security: learn how to make your Gmail secure

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

Is your Gmail secure? Can you tell if someone hacks your account?

In this short series of posts, I want to help you make sure that your Google Account is secure. I want to show you how to know if someone hacks your account. 

In this post, we’ll focus on Gmail and in the next, your Google Account settings. First, I want to show you how you can tell if someone else is checking your email. 

Gmail Account Activity 

Gmail records how, where, and when your mail is checked. To check your Last account activity, look for the following at the bottom of your Gmail screen and click on Details 

describe the image

A new window will open, like the screenshot below, displaying the Access Type, Location (IP address), and Date/Time. Scan the rows. Does anything look suspicious — unauthorized concurrent sessions, unexplainable locations or times, or unknown devices?

For example, if you normally access your email from California, but the Location field shows that your account was accessed from another state or country, this is a red flag that someone else has access to your account.

Make sure that the Alert preference is set to Show an alert for unusual activity.

security 2 resized 600

Gmail Settings

Next, let’s verify your Gmail settings. Click on the cog in the upper right corner of your Gmail screen and select Mail settings from the drop-down menu, like this screenshot.

security 3

In the General tab, make sure that the Browser connection is set to Always use https. This setting protects your information from being stolen when you're signing in to Gmail on a public wireless network, like at a coffee shop or hotel. Here's a screenshot

security 4

Next, let’s examine the key settings to make sure that no one has hacked your account and hijacked your mail. Again, on the Mail settings page, click on

  • General: check your Signature, and Vacation responder
  • Accounts and Import: verify your settings under Send mail as, which includes checking your reply-to address, Check mail using POP3, and Grant access to your account.
  • Filters: Check that no filters are sending your mail to Trash, Spam, or forwarding to an unknown account. 
  • Forwarding and POP/IMAP: Make sure that your mail isn't sent to an unknown account or mail client, like happened in this summer’s Chinese Gmail scandal.

Finally, be aware of phishing scams (read about phishing in Wikipedia) that redirect you to websites that look like Gmail log-in pages, but are really rogue sites to trick you in to entering your Gmail address and password. For example, this graphic shows what the fake site looked like that tricked many users this summer.

Here are a few things to remember to avoid phishing scams.

  1. The URL for Gmail should be https://mail.google.com/... Check the top of your web browser, and if it’s anything else, use extreme caution. 
  2. Avoid clicking on a URL that is disguised in an email. Hackers disguise dubious websites by not showing the URL. So, don’t click on this, but do click on this - http://www.example.com
  3. Never send sensitive information by email. To be safe, assume that your email may be snooped.

To sum-up, if you keep close watch on your Account Activity and occasionally check your key settings, you’ll be well on your way to securing your Gmail.

In the comments below, let me know what works for you. How do you keep your Gmail secure?

Additional Resources

Gmail Security Checklist - Google Help Document

Managing and Organizing Your E-mail Inbox--Using Google Apps - People-OnTheGo webinar

Inbox Freedom - People-OnTheGo webinar 

Topics: Gmail, Technology, email management

Email is dead!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article written by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

Do you receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails each day? I’ve got good news. Help is on the way!

Email: the old way of sharing

Every morning your inbox is full. 

  • Many messages have no significance, so you delete, delete, delete, and occasionally archive. 
  • Some messages are of interest, so you sort through reply-all after reply-all, wondering if these people bother to read each other’s comments. 
  • A few messages are addressed to you alone. Some you share with others to get their input, and some are private, for your eyeballs only. 

You know the routine: it’s slow, tedious, and laborious. It’s what we’ve come to call work. And, work it is. 

Email is dead.

We have no use for email! We have a completely new way of sharing information.

Google+: the new way of sharing 

Imagine if email was “socialized” and “integrated.”

Imagine if you could rank, comment, and reply to the comments of others, all in real time.

Imagine if you could conduct surveys and gather feedback, whether internally or externally, without sorting through email after email.

Imagine if you only had to check one inbox, not three or four — not Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and RSS, but one inbox. 

You can quit imagining!

Google Plus socializes email and integrates everything into one inbox, what Pierre Khawand calls The New New Inbox.

Let’s illustrate the power of G+ by studying a piece shared by +Mark Striebeck, the Gmail frontend and development manager. Notice that the piece is 

  • Socialized internally with the Gmail team and externally with the Public Circle.
  • Socialized through the +1 Button, a reader approval ranking.
  • Socialized through Sharing, where readers share the piece with others.
  • Socialized through Comments, where readers interact with one another and with Mark. 


g social

In the old email era, Mark would have (a) emailed the Gmail team; (b) emailed all Google employees internally (c) written a blog; (d) tweeted that he had written the blog; (e) subscribed to the blog comments; (f) posted on his personal Facebook wall; (g) posted on the Gmail Facebook wall, if they had one; and (h) worked late into the night as his Gmail inbox overflowed. 

Google Plus integrates your "email" into one inbox, the New New Inbox. G+ streamlines and overhauls how we share information personally and corporately. 

Email is dead.

What do you think? Can Google+ socialize and integrate your email, even at work? 

If you would like an invitation to join G+, please leave a comment below, note your interest, and we’ll do our best to make sure that you receive an invitation email as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Google+ Project Website 

Accomplishing More With Social Media Webinar Series: 9/19, 9/26 (12:00 to 1:30 pm Pacific Time)

LinkedIn for Sales Professionals! Webinar: 8/5 and 10/14 (9:30 am to 11:00 am Pacific Time) 

Topics: Google+, Technology

Google+, the end of Twitter, and the rise of Facebook

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article written by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

Given that social media's history spans less than a decade, it's a fool's errand to predict what social media will look like in 10 years, let alone in 10 days. Bear with me as I play the fool. 

What does the future hold for Google+, Twitter, and Facebook? 

In the short term, expect Google+ and Facebook to match each other feature for feature. 

Google Plus recently unveiled games. You'll still have to use Facebook to play FarmVille or CityVille, but at G+ you can play Angry Birds or Zynga Poker. 

Soon, Google will begin offering business accounts similar to Facebook's. Currently, only individuals can configure G+ profiles. In the near future, businesses and brands will have Google+ accounts and profiles. 

Google+ will soon enjoy tighter integration with other Google products, from Search to Gmail. The Google interface will provide a seamless experience as users move between Gmail, G+, Calendar, and so forth.

Expect the notification bar to be extended to all products. You will receive notifications for Gmail, G+ events, calendar actions, and shared Google Docs. Also, expect that you will be able to interact with your notification stream without changing tabs. 

Finally, look for Google to "socialize" all of its products, including docs and email. Email is dead. We will increasingly share and interact dynamically, especially within our work communities. Google Apps users will use G+ to share information within their workgroups, not Gmail. (More about this in our next post.) 

Facebook recently updated its privacy settings to match Google's. You can bet that Facebook is working night-and-day with Microsoft's Skype to offer integrated, multi-user video collaboration like G+ Hangouts. 

Expect Facebook to implement a more selective, circle-like way to share information. "Circles" are a must for Facebook, since it's the one feature that sharply differentiates Google+ from Facebook

Facebook will respond to Google's tight integration by offering all of Google's services, including Search and Gmail. That's right: Facebook will enter search. Look for Facebook to introduce a more robust email interface and to offer more and more Google-like services and apps

Facebook's mobile client will also be extended to match Google's unified experience, especially on the Mac iOS platform. Your iPhone's email, calendar, and notes apps will all be synced with your Facebook account. 

Lastly, Facebook will further postpone its IPO until its feature set, including search, is on par with Google's. 

Twitter will continue to enjoy a loyal following, but by any metric — user-base, active users, tweets, or time — Twitter will remain a niche player with a limited, if not shrinking, user base.

Twitter will differentiate its product from Facebook and G+ by focusing on what it does best, namely, offering organic, real-time current-event reporting, commentary, and discussion. 

Lastly, Twitter's revenues will wane. It's new "promoted tweets" business model is inherently flawed — Who, for example, searches for "Ford" on Twitter when shopping for a new car? Look for an IPO within the next 24 months, but don't expect the offering price to match it's recent $US 8 billion valuation. 

What does all of this mean? Will one site win?

Nope. The odds are zero that one social media site will win. Social media sites are communities, and different sites attract different cultures. One site cannot be all things to all people. 

As simple as G+ is to the predominantly male, techie, early adopters, G+ is anything but simple for most users. The "circle" metaphor is confusing. Techies like messing and tinkering with stuff. Non-techies want to use stuff. For most, there is no reason to leave Facebook and learn another service.

Arguably, Google+ will continue to enjoy strong acceptance with the tech crowd, and longer term, G+ will find growth among Google Apps users. G+ will revolutionize how Google Apps users share information within corporate environments. And, G+ will also gain traction in education, where circles and hangouts can bring educators and students together virtually. 

Facebook, however, will remain king. It's dead simple to use. You can teach your parents how to use Facebook in one or two sessions. More importantly, with its 650 million users — 300 times that of Google+ — if you want to share with your friends, most likely your friends are on Facebook

Summing up, Google+ will make Facebook stronger and more robust. Facebook will match Google across all of its products, including circles, email, and search — Yes, Facebook will assuredly enter the search business! Twitter, a strong niche player, will disappoint its investors. 

What do you think? What does the future hold for social media? 

It's your turn. Go ahead, call me a fool! What do you think?

If you would like an invitation to join G+, please leave a comment below, note your interest, and we’ll do our best to make sure that you receive an invitation email as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Google+ Project Website 

Accomplishing More With Social Media Webinar Series: 9/19, 9/26 (12:00 to 1:30 pm Pacific Time)

LinkedIn for Sales Professionals! Webinar: 8/5 and 10/14 (9:30 am to 11:00 am Pacific Time) 

Topics: twitter, Google+, social media, Technology

Google+ Facebook, and Twitter: which is best?

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article written by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

In a recent post about Google+, one person astutely wondered, 

How are people feeling about Facebook vs. Google+? I have both but am not completely sure Google+ is better. 

This is a great question! 

Is Google+ better than Facebook? Twitter? 

Let's begin by asking, What is the difference between Google+, Facebook, and Twitter? 

Google+ has the potential to replace most, if not all, of the services that you currently use to share information. 

Rather than send email, use G+ to share your thoughts with only one person. Rather than post to a blog, use G+ and make your thoughts public. Rather than tweet, use G+ to share your 140 characters with everyone.

Use Google + to share indiscriminately with a large circle of "friends," and you’re back to Facebook.

Share discriminately with a select circle of associates, rather than send a bulk-email, use a listserv, or configure an invitation service. Share with yourself, rather than opening a journal. Share photos with your family, rather than uploading to a third-party photo-sharing service.

Google+ is highly configurable and potentially replaces a wide range of services — email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, invites, listserv, and photo-sharing. As one well-known blogger explains, “You simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.”

But, does this mean that Google+ is better than Facebook and Twitter?  

Absolutely not! No. 

If I want to share information with my sister and her family, then I better go to Facebook. They don't use G+. If I want to view my daughter's pictures from her summer internship, I know that I better coax her to share a Facebook link. All of her friends are on Facebook.

If I want to track a current event in real-time, such as the recent events in London, then I better turn to Twitter. If I want to share something with my dad, I better use email. 

In general, I better choose the communication tool — G+, Facebook, Twitter, email, blog, and so forth — that best suits my audience and purpose. 

What do you think? Which social-media site best suits your needs? Why? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you would like an invitation to join G+, please leave a comment below, note your interest, and we’ll do our best to make sure that you receive an invitation email as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Google+ Project Website 

Accomplishing More With Social Media Webinar Series: 9/19, 9/26 (12:00 to 1:30 pm Pacific Time)

LinkedIn for Sales Professionals! Webinar: 8/5 and 10/14 (9:30 am to 11:00 am Pacific Time) 

Topics: twitter, Google+, social media, Technology