People underestimate the connection Google+ has with its users around interests


Interview with Google’s new head of social media David Besbris.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Google+?

People underestimate the connection Google+ has with its users around interests. I think people come to Google+ with this expectation that it’s going to be Google’s attempt to do some other product — we’re doing this to compete with somebody and it must be something like that. That’s not actually how we compete with products. We don’t approach products in that we need to go into [certain] industries because somebody else is doing something important. We go into this industry because we want to make users happy, because we see some software out there that’s scratching some itches.

Of all the social products you have, where does Google+ fall in terms of your priority list?

Very high. Photos, Hangouts, Google+ — I’d say these are my top three priorities. The Google+ app you see out there today is used by hundreds of millions of users, it’s actually something I use every single day with my friends and family and my interests, talking about photography and my unnatural affection for little squirrels and things like that. So I’m a passionate user of these things.

The company often talks about Photos as being one of the strengths of Google+ — what are some of the other strengths?

Video hangouts are pretty incredible. There’s no technology out there as refined for doing the multi-party video as what we have. In the consumer space, some of what we’ve seen that’s really incredible has been communities. That’s what we’ve seen take off like a rocket inside Google+.

Why hasn’t Google+ ever had ads?

I think ads can be — when actually done right — useful. If you’re searching for something and see an ad unit that pops up, that is helpful [so you can] actually go buy the thing that you’re looking for. If you’re looking at pictures of your kids or you get an ad for a mobile home just because you happened to drive by a mobile home park, I don’t think that’s useful. Context is the thing that matters the most.

You want to show an ad when it’s most relevant, when it’s valuable. If you don’t, the ads won’t be great ads. They won’t convert well, they won’t be beneficial and it kind of just pollutes the space. I think for a social place that tends to be very intimate where you’re having conversations with people, you’re sharing pictures, you’re exploring things you’re really into, you don’t want to be at that point bombarded with noise.

Do you have any intention or plans to bring ads to Google+ in the future?

I tend not to rule anything out ever, but I don’t see that they’re valuable as they’re often done in the industry. So no. If we did, we’d try to put a nice Googley spin on them.

Read the full interview on Re/Code here.

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