Google+ and Hangouts Need Just One Thing

How Google Could Own All Communication

There is one thing preventing Google Plus and Hangouts from becoming massive. Simply put, it’s the fact that my personal and work Google accounts (and all the other accounts I have) cannot be rolled into one, socially-connected and all encompassing “communication” profile.

Imagine if LinkedIn or Facebook operated this way, giving you a new account for every email you managed on the platform. Each identity within those systems would become a weak facsimile, a ghost, of the other profile. This is exactly what happens with Google+.

Here is my work Google+ profile:

And the Google+ profile page for my personal Gmail:

Which one would you follow? Why would you pick one over the other?

The fact that one has to ask “which one of these is the ‘real Brad’” manifests itself throughout the Google ecosystem. If you’re using Hangouts at work, for instance, look what happens when you search for your coworker, Brad Ledford:

Both personal and work accounts show in the results, along with the myriad other Brad Ledfords in the Interwebs. This is confusing enough that my wife consistently uses my work account to chat with me (which I find exceedingly annoying, honey!) when the more appropriate account would be my personal one. I also consistently get emails from people who found my page on Google+, likely from ranking highly in search results, but are ultimately communicating with the wrong Brad. Sidebar: Hey Brad in North Carolina…you’re a popular dude but you need better SEO!

So what’s the big deal? Is this even a real problem to solve?

Yes. It’s huge because there are already too many ways to communicate in the modern suite of daily-use applications. Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn, SMS, and their ilk all try to maintain open systems of communication, bending us into mental pretzels try and manage it all. Having multiple channels of communication open within the Google ecosystem is like adding salt to the, uh, pretzel.

If done well, I think Google+ and Hangouts could be at the center of it all, binding our systems and their activity feeds into a single realtime communication profile. I imagine this as a simple Venn diagram with g+ in the middle.

Is it possible or has Facebook messaging already beat Google to the punch?

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