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Zaldy Dalisay
A guy addicted to search engine optimization
A guy addicted to search engine optimization


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importing web data into Google Spreadsheet
Importing Web Data into Google Spreadsheet

Did you know you can import tables available online directly into +Google Drive? That can be done using the ImportHTML function on  Google Spreadsheets and will save you a lot of time. The image below shows how to do it (source
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My visit in Calauit Safari Park #Coron  
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Quo Vadis Google+? What's Next for Google's Social Network?

Download this article as a PDF!  Go to (thanks to +todd l lebeauc for creating that)

"quo vadis" is Latin for "where are you going?" That's been the question on the minds of many of us since Thursday's announcement that Google+ chief +Vic Gundotra was departing Google, and the subsequent rash of speculation in the online press that this signals the beginning of the end for Google+, that Google was finally throwing in the towel on its "failed" social network.

I've spent the days since agonizing over this and debating it in countless threads. My first instinct was denial, and I argued strongly against any notion that Google+ would radically change.

But I've gotten past my initial emotional and personal response, and had time to reflect more objectively. I've also read some thoughtful articles that gave me reason to consider another side (and I cite these below). The following is entirely my personal thought process (which is why I'm publishing it here and not on the Stone Temple blog). It represents my current "thinking out loud" on the topic, and so is subject to future modification. And it is you have been warned ;-) There is a tl;dr summary of my main points at the very end.

I'm going to build this on a series of assertions. I don't mean any of these assertions to be absolutes, or even "predictions." Like all of us on the outside of the few offices clustered around Larry Page's in Mountain View, I see through a glass dimly. 

Assertion 1: Google+ Is Not Going Away
I'll deal with this one relatively quickly because it's not really the meat of what I want to say here. But it does need to be addressed.

If I would hang my hat and put down money on anything in this post, it's that Google has no intentions whatsoever of killing Google+. For one thing, we have strong statements from Google+ Chief Architect +Yonatan Zunger that the TechCrunch article alleging the coming death of G+ was "utter bollocks" and that the supposed reassignment of G+ staff to other projects was nothing more than a logistical moving of staff to a larger building for space reasons. Zunger said that not only is Google not killing G+, they are actually at this moment making major investments in new features and innovations for it that will be rolled out in the coming months.

But beyond that, it just doesn't make sense to me that Google would now dismantle Google+. Google+ isn't an added-on product with an off switch you can flip in a moment, such as Google Reader. It is now truly baked in to the very infrastructure of almost all of online Google. 

I'll save the reasons why that is for below, but suffice it to say for now that turning off Google Reader was like removing a sock. Dismantling Google+ would be more like ripping out a person's nervous system.

So, I don't think Google+ is going anywhere, But....

Sub-Assertion 1a: The Google+ Name May Be Deemphasized
For reasons that will (I hope) be made clear below, I do think it quite plausible that we will see in the not-distant future a growing de-emphasis of the Google+ brand. Whether by bad luck or mishandling, or some combination of the two, the G+ brand has never gained positive traction in public perception. Almost three years in and those of us who are advocates of the platform find ourselves almost daily having still to defend it from ridicule. That's not a good position for any brand name.

Whether fair or unfair, the Google+ name has become almost indelibly linked by non-users with "fail," "ghost town" and something that Google pushes unwanted on users of its other products. After three years, it may be time to admit that the opportunity to overcome that perception has been missed. 

It may be that the social network on which you are reading this post continues to be known as Google+, but we stop hearing "Google+ is Google" type statements from Google. Perhaps, as +Danny Sullivan speculated (, user accounts may return to being just Google accounts. We might see the cessation of Google nagging (or now forcing) everyone to "sign up for Google+" in order to use other Google products.

Frankly, I will be surprised if none of that happens over the next year, maybe sooner.

For some interesting insights into why Google's own corporate culture may have doomed the Google+ brand, see That author's ideas are being castigated in the comments because he was "only" a short-term intern who worked for Google+ in 2011, but his insights about Google culture actually match up well with the testimonies of numerous other ex-Googlers.

See also "The Untold Story of Larry Page" at for more confirmation of some of the quirks of Google culture.

So, conclusion to Assertion 1: Google+ is not going away, but the Google+ brand and how it is used by Google may change significantly.

Assertion 2: The Future Is NOT In Mega Social Network Platforms
Much of what I'm going to say here is riffing off an article by +Mike Elgan titled "Why the Social Networks Are Falling Apart" that you should read if you want to understand where all this is going now -->

Mike's article is quite cleverly titled. By "falling apart" he doesn't at all mean that the major social networks are dying. Rather he's commenting on their increasing move toward spinning off into developed or acquired apps that allow users to engage with one popular aspect of a network without having to get into all the other baggage that comes with the network as a whole. 

An example of this would be the acquisitions of Instagram by Facebook and Vine by Twitter. Many pundits have been surprised that these apps haven't yet been absorbed into their owner's social networks. But Elgan isn't surprised at all. He says keeping these apps independent is a recognition by the Big Guys of social networking that an increasing number of users are shifting in two directions that actually complement each other: mobile and hyper-specific.

Facebook was first to see this. Over the past two years their users have shifted overwhelmingly to mobile. That created a real crisis for Facebook. Facebook is entirely revenue-dependent on advertising inside their own platform, and mobile is notoriously advertising-averse. 

At the same time their revenue model was perhaps even more threatened by another trend: the increasing move of users toward smaller, hyper-niche networks. Many users, and especially the younger set who are the future, seem to be increasingly wary of the "wide open" nature of big social networks. They just want to chat with their close friends, but the big networks tend to make conversations too open, pulling in all sorts of people they don't necessarily want to interact with

The first response of these networks was to offer audience segmentation options. Google+ led the way on this with the Circles concept, and Facebook quickly copied that with Friends Lists. The problem with these though is that very few users ever use them. It's just too much work to create all these circles or lists. And even if we do, doing that doesn't actually match up with the way we engage with people in the real world. Joe may be a co-worker, but he also may be a close friend. But he may not be someone I want to talk politics with. In the terms of Facebook relationships statuses, "it's complicated."

So users are turning to micro-network apps such as Instagram, SnapChat, and WhatsApp for two reasons: they are entirely mobile, which is where more and more users spend most of their online time, and they can easily be set up to engage one tight circle of friends.

But how does acquiring or building these micro-network apps help the bottom lines of the mega social networks?

Elgan gives the answer in his article. It's a realization that the real value of social networks to big companies like Facebook or Google isn't in user engagement (not discounting that that is valuable), but in data acquisition.

To put it bluntly, those micro-networks become rich sources of user data acquisition that can be used to better target advertising in places other than the social network itself.

(Expect to see Facebook making more and more moves toward building an ad network that extends outside the Facebook platform.)

That leads me to my third and final assertion.

Assertion 3: Even if Google+ the Brand Has Failed. Google+ the Platform Has Been an Amazing Success
I don't doubt that Google really wanted Google+ to succeed as a true social network. I certainly think that was Vic Gundotra's dream. As much as some of us like to say "don't look at G+ as a Facebook killer," do we really doubt for a moment that Google wouldn't have loved if it were? 

Look at the first year ad campaigns for Google+. They basically came across as, "Hey, look, you can do everything on G+ that you do on Facebook, but with better privacy (Circles)!" Obviously that wasn't a big enough disruption for most people to make the shift. Even if they believed that Google+ was better designed and really did make privacy more up front than Facebook, the Facebook momentum was too much to overcome. Many of us G+ evangelists made fun of the "but my friends aren't on G+" mentality, but it honestly carried tremendous weight.

So why am I asserting that Google+ the project has been a resounding success? Because even if it never becomes a household word social network, Google+ instigated a radical restructuring of Google that makes Google much better positioned for the future, in light of what we discussed above.

One Google to Rule them All Whenever I discuss the importance of Google+ to Google, I always come back to January 2012. That was when Google used Google+ as the "excuse" to unify it's privacy policy. Until then there was a separate privacy policy for each different Google product. Users wanting to use those products while logged in agreed to terms specific to that product only. But in January 2012 Google made all users "re up" their privacy agreements. Now users would agree to one overarching agreement, based in their Google+ profile, that would cover and unify all Google services.

For the user that provided increased convenience. She could now sign in to Google once and then seamlessly use all Google services. Not only did she not have to log in and out again, but her profile carried over into all services, making them more useful.

From Google's side, the advantages were enormous. Within Google itself, users were incentivized to remain logged in, thus allowing Google to better collect and collate user data and behavior between services. But that's not all. The convenience of using Google logged in, combined with increasing opportunities to use websites and apps through a Google login, meant that more and more people were on the web logged in to Google all the time. And that made it much easier for Google to collect even more user data.

The unified privacy agreement also paved the way for "Search Plus Your World" personalized search. With more user data, and more people staying signed in to Google all day long, search could become much more personalized. In theory, this leads to better search results for the individual. That means a happier user who will use Google more, and thus be more exposed to Google ads.

But what else does Google do with all that data? The primary revenue-centered use is for targeting advertising. The more Google knows about your personal information, your preferences, your online behaviors, your location, etc., the more accurately they can serve up ads targeted to you specifically.

And that's where Google has a distinct advantage over Facebook and Twitter: the Google Ad Network. Not only can Google show hyper-targeted ads in Google properties like Search and YouTube, but Google also owns and runs the largest online advertising network in the world, with millions of sites displaying Google AdSense ads.

So Google+ became the catalyst not only to finally unify Google, but to get a much larger amount of user accounts, while incentivizing users to log in to those accounts, thus providing user data that generates more ad revenue for Google.

Conclusion: Whither Goest Google+?
For the past two days I've been face palming over my lack of foresight to understand a major clue about the future I'm proposing here; a clue that was staring me in the face for at least the past six months.

Here it is: Up until some time last year, when you would hear an official Google+ spokesperson speaking at a conference, he or she would speak about the advantages of Google+ the social platform for brands. You'd hear about how well you can engage your audience, and the glories of Hangouts for brand building and customer retention, etc. That all changed about six months ago.

Now all Google+ spokespeople seem to speak off the same talking points sheet, and it's all about Google+ Sign In for webmasters and developers.

At the time I railed about that. I thought "once again, Google marketing missing the point." I was frustrated that they were failing to teach businesses what I had been teaching for two years: the incredible reach a brand could get by being active on the G+ social platform, particularly due to its influence into Search.

What I missed was that the shift in the conference talks (and what Google reps most wanted to talk about when we had them on our Digital Marketing Excellence Show) was probably signalling the change in emphasis I'm talking about today. That is, Google is strategically moving from pushing Google+ the social engagement platform to promoting Google+ the one-stop data miner for webmasters and app developers in relation to their users.

When webmasters/developers incorporate G+ Sign In, it's a win-win for both them and Google. Both get access to and the ability to manipulate much deeper levels of user data and behavior. As I indicated above, I wouldn't be surprised if in the coming months we see the G+ branding dropped from things like Sign In.

(For another perspective on the future of Google+ that is very similar to mine here, see by +John Battelle )

UPDATE 4/28/2014: +Peter du Toit just shared with me a +WIRED article from three days ago that I hadn't seen until now. It sets forth ideas very, very similar to mine above:

The tl;dr (too long; didn't read) summary of this post:

1. Google+ the social network is not going away, but Google+ the brand may change significantly (or even disappear).

2. That change is driven by the realization that the future for big online advertising companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google is not so much in social engagement as it is in user data acquisition.

3. The Google+ project has been an incredible success (even if the social network never is in a Facebook kind of success) because it drove the unification of Google products, the creation of a unified user privacy policy and sign in, and supercharged the data acquisition needs of Google.

Of course, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! If you reshare this post, please tag me in your reshare so I can follow any discussions you generate.

Pinging +Andrij Harasewych +Dustin W. Stout +Eric Enge +Ben Fisher +Kristoffer Howes +martin shervington +David Amerland  #google   #googleplus   #vicgundotra   #plusonly  
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The Arrogance of SEOs

I hesitated to share this because the gods know SEOs have endured more than enough bashing recently. But +Gianluca Fiorelli is an SEO writer I trust deeply; he's not some random basher or "SEO Is Dead" headline grabber.

What he speaks to in this post is a perception of SEO's having a massive inferiority complex these days (perhaps brought on in part by all the aforementioned bashing and "SEO is dead!" proclamations), and that perhaps they overcompensate for that feeling by claiming to be and do more than they can (or should) deliver.

To be humble for me means that an SEO is ready to listen to his client and is ready to put himself apart if something can be better promoted using another marketing channel, being at the same time ready to offer his own perspective and so giving the opportunity to obtain an even greater success.
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HTC One is coming soon! Extremely thin, snapdragon s4 processor - this is surely one smartphone to look out for.
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Buying supplies at the public market
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