This assignment presented me with a great opportunity to research and to understand a number of issues about the operations the Google Company in the United States. In the process, I have come across interesting discoveries regarding the operations of the Google Company and why it stands out in the telecommunications industry.
Despite being a giant company with operations in various parts of the world, the company has had its ups and downs. Specifically, a number of applications developed by the company encountered problems and could therefore not survive. While this is partly due to criticisms from opponents and competitors, it can also be attributed to the company’s inability to conduct thorough research in order to understand the target audience and ensure that customers are presented with social media networks that are not only unique and attractive but also helpful.
One of the products released by the company that has made a mark is Google Plus. While other social media networks met with some resistance, Google Plus appears to have picked up quite well and there is a very high possibility that it could eventually overtake other popular social media networks.
One of the main purposes of education is the ability of an individual to develop his or her own capabilities through research and interaction with what is expressed by others. Honesty generally implies that one is able to take full responsibility of his or her actions in an academic setup. Academic dishonesty may be expressed especially through plagiarism and involves submitting work that belongs to someone else. Plagiarism may happen as a result of ignorance and not knowing how well to refer other people’s work. However, it may also be as a result of laziness and lack of integrity on the part of the student.
By appending my signature below, I am declaring that this is my personal work. I am aware that plagiarism is a serious academic offence and I have done every thing possible to ensure that any part of this work that is not my own is properly referenced. Where I have borrowed ideas from others, these have been well documented.
I am also aware that the institution reserves the right to punish any form of plagiarism that may be detected in may work.
Generally, social media may be defined as a group of Internet-based applications that facilitate creation and exchange of content generated by users (Ayanso and Lertwachara 29). It encompasses a range of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Blogs. Over the years, social media networks have evolved to meet most organizational and personal needs. Besides helping individuals to stay in touch with relatives and friends, they enable organizations to easily reach and interact with both existing and potential customers. Social media provides a tool for developing or enhancing relationships and eliciting feedback from consumers. Furthermore, it is a valuable source of consumer information. Arguably, the true value of social media is in its use as an interactive device.
Using social media, organizations are able to develop great relationships with people whose influence can mean success or failure. Among other things, social media is useful for creating, modifying, and sharing personal or organizational content. For most people, social media provides an excellent way to connect with others and get updates on what is happening around.
This paper looks at the usage and impact of social media on Google Company in the United States.
Company Profile and Social Media Platforms Supported
Google incorporation is a U.S. based company that concentrates on the delivery of Internet related services and products. Although the company was originally formed to be a search engine, it has expanded its services over time to include other services such as online advertising, cloud computing and social networking. Google also provides users with applications for browsing the web, photo editing and instant messaging.
Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergei Brin while working on a joint project to build a search engine at Stanford University. Both were doctor of philosophy students at the university. The company was later registered on 7th September, 1998 as a private entity. As a newly formed company, Google slowly grew and gained the confidence of both users and investors as a reputable source of reliable information on varying topics. From handling only a small number of queries every day, the number of queries handled on a daily basis continued to go up incrementally.
The popularity of Google as a credible search engine continued to grow and soon it started receiving awards and recognition for exemplary performance in offering internet related services and products. At the moment, Google controls more than 50% of the total search market in the world and is quite effective in providing relevant and reliable information for individual users, corporate organizations, and even other search engines.
Because of its unique innovations, the company is setting the pace for other search engines and information technology professionals with a keen interest in search engine optimization. Initially, Google relied heavily on funding by its founders to survive and meet its operating expenses. Today, the company is capable of supporting all its operations and provides employment to thousands of its employees scattered around the world.
Among many others, the various social media platforms owned and used by the Google Company include Google Plus, Orkut, Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Google Blog. Google Buzz and Google Wave are some of the products released by Google but failed to meet the original objectives. Google Wave was designed to allow for effective communication as well as collaboration on the Web.
Wave integrates the various features of communication services such as instant messaging, wikis, and email. Although Wave is similar in operation to other systems used for messaging purposes, it has some distinct features that differentiate it from the rest. Google Wave can be extended to include gadgets and robots in order to enhance performance. Typically, the extensions are included as add-ins. Google Buzz was developed by the Google Company and integrated into their Gmail program.
Among other things, it enabled users to share videos, photos and comments that could be viewed through a user’s inbox. Google Buzz made it possible for users to share content either privately or publicly. It integrated a number of other services including Picasa, YouTube, Google Reader, Twitter, and Google Latitude. It incorporated elements that could facilitate interaction using other products developed by Google. Although Buzz was meant to help close the gap between work and pleasure, it received numerous criticisms because of its inability to provide for enough security.
Google Blog enables individuals to share important information while collaborating on projects. Through blogs, Google Company has been able to provide an important platform for employees to communicate and share ideas. Orkut was developed by an engineer and was thus named after him. After being launched, the use of Orkut was only possible through invitation.
As a social media platform, Orkut is deigned to make online community users active and exciting. Using Orkut, it is possible for individuals to maintain existing relationships with the help of pictures as well as messages. Orkut also allows individuals to go as far as creating new relationships with other they have never known before. Google Company also developed Google Talk in order to enable users to freely communicate with the help of speakers and computer microphones. Through Google Labs, the Google Company succeeded in releasing Google Reader, a web-based product designed to read RSS feeds through the Web.
The introduction of the Chat facility also helped to improve the experience of users by making it possible to exchange messages online. Picasa Web Albums was developed to enable users to manage and share pictures with friends and family quite easily. Using Google Docs, individuals are able to jointly work on job related tasks. In partnership with other social networks, Google also came up with OpenSocial, an application designed to link individuals online. Google Friend Connect is an example of OpenSocial application that is meant to facilitate connections between social as well as non-social websites.
Despite being short-lived, Google Lively was designed by the Google Company to provide individuals with options for interacting and sharing personal information online. Google Latitude is another social media network that was developed as a replacement for the Dogeball service. With its unique features, Google Latitude had the ability to enable individuals to know where their friends were with the help of a mobile device.
Google launched Google Voice in the year 2009. It provides a phone number in the United States selected by the user without any charges. Google Plus is currently the most popular of Google’s social media platforms. Apparently, it is expected to grow and do better than other social media types. Figure 1 on the appendix page illustrates how the use of Google Plus has grown over the years. This is further reinforced by Figure 3 which shows that Google Plus is ranked as the second most popular social media network after Facebook.
Some social media networks that are used by Google have been purchased from other companies. They include Blogger, Dogeball, Writely, YouTube, Feedburner, GrandCentral, Postini, Zingku, Jaiku, and Aardvark. Apparently, Google has also worked in collaboration with other service providers so as to present clients with what they need. The company has, for example, partnered with Yahoo and MySpace.
Differences and Characteristics of Social and Traditional Media
Traditional media is generally associated with newspapers, television stations as well as other methods that are used to publish professional content (Cross 2). Social media on the other hand is best understood by looking at the way information is passed through the media from one person to another.
It may also be defined by how it is used and the technology that supports the features associated with it. In general, social media networks exhibit unique characteristics when compared to traditional media forms (Institute of Business Ethics 1). Its speed and scope implies that once content is published, it is made instantaneously available to the target audience which may be located in different places across the world.
Generally, it is important to have a solid understanding of the difference between social and traditional media in order to use social media in a beneficial way. One of the obvious differences between social and traditional media is that social media which includes Facebook and Twitter is freely available to consumers. To a large extent, traditional media targets a larger group.
On the contrary, social media is designed to reach individuals in person. Besides being interactive, social media is measurable. Traditional media on the other hand is difficult to measure and only allows one way communication. While social media is time consuming, traditional media is good for realizing short term results. Traditional media is also expensive.
According to Cross (2) social media takes traditional media to a completely new level. With traditional media usually presented through new articles or bill boards, information is created in a professional way. It then goes through a polishing and vetting process which ensures that it meets certain criteria before being relayed to consumers.
Typically, the message is relayed to the target audience through a one-way channel of communication. When it comes to social media, information is simply produced by a user. The information generated is never scrutinized is exchanged through a two-way communication channel. While it is expensive to send out a message using traditional media, it is less costly or even free when using social media.
A key feature of social media is its social aspect. Using traditional media, the communicator simply tells the audience what the message. Unfortunately, the sender of a message has means of getting feedback from the receiver. The various features and characteristics of social media make it possible for consumers to express their opinions on what is being said.
Once a person posts an article on a blog, it is possible for a person to immediately respond to it by adding his or her views. The originator of the message could then respond to concerns raised by the recipient. Obviously, this opens a conversation channel between the originator and recipient of the message. Rather than telling people what they should think, social media changes the information into an informational exchange of views. In addition, it is possible for any person to join in on sites that are accessible to others without the need for technical experience. Unlike traditional mediums, boundaries are broken down and the reader can become a writer any time he or she wants.
Looking at the various characteristics and features, one can notice that social media is a term that describes various technologies used to engage people through collaboration, the exchange of information, and interactivity with Web based content. Considering that the Internet is constantly evolving, the technologies and features available to users are always changing.
Usage of Social Media and Impact of Ethics on Google Company’s Reputation
Over the years, communication has drastically changed with technology being applied in every area of our lives that involves exchange of information (Brown 4). The use of social media in the present world is no longer an option or a matter that should be subjected to debate to decide whether or not it should be adopted. Without a doubt, it is very critical for any business enterprise.
It provides a very powerful avenue for organizations to connect and communicate with customers at different levels in the society in order to meet their specific needs. Among other benefits, the interaction enables organizations to receive feedback from clients which is later used to improve performance across the organization. Using social media, it is also possible for organizations to trigger conversations that may end up benefiting the organization in the long run. Individuals get an opportunity to discuss products and services offered by an organization and this increases its popularity.
However, mismanagement of social media networks is a potential risk to the survival of organizations. Among other things, the use of social media can lead to loss of confidentiality, mismanagement of resources that belong to an organization as well as conflicts of interests. As a consequence, it is imperative for every organization to have an effective strategy for monitoring the use of social media networks. Every organization that relies on social media networks must identify any possible threats and formulate a mitigation or avoidance plan before things get out of hand.
To ensure responsible use of social media networks, Google has strict policies that look at how employees utilize social media networks for any functions that are not work related. As a rule, all employees are expected to use social media in a responsible manner and no single individual is permitted to use social media networks to send out any information that could ruin the reputation of the company. The Google Company also pays close attention to the way social media networks are used for business purposes.
The whole idea is to make sure that as the company utilizes social media networks to further its business operations, it must do so in a responsible way. In addition, the company also has strict rules that govern how non-employees who are engaged to work for the company on a short-term basis. This is meant to control how such individuals utilize social media while representing the company. Generally, non-employees engaged by the Google Company are expected to be responsible and to use social media networks in a manner that is beneficial to the company. The company does not condone any individual who fails to comply with rules and guidelines set by the company.
Evaluation of Current Usage of Social Media and Recommended Changes
Generally, the Google Company is popular for its ability to provide users with content that is relevant to their specific needs. Apparently, the company makes use of social media links to improve their rankings. In order to ensure that pages receive high rankings, Google creates an environment where other sites link to it. However, this is a top secret for the Google Company.
The company makes use of Google Analytics to provide a report regarding the activities on social media and track those visiting websites. The company also uses some of its other services like Google Plus to improve page rankings on websites. It is, however, imperative for the site owner to do some work for this to be realized.
According to Jacobson (9), there are a number of recommendations for effective usage of social networks that could be of benefit to the Google Company. First, it is imperative for the company to have a good understanding of the use of social media networks to promote its business operations. As has been pointed out, some social media platforms developed by the company failed to succeed and this is probably as a result of lack of a better understanding of the application of social media networks.
In addition, it is necessary to understand the target audience before presenting any product to them. The purpose of the social media network as well as the target audience must be clear to the developers of the social media platform. Apparently, most clients are happy when they know that they can trust online communication (Jacobson 12). For this reason, the Google Company should make every effort to ensure that any communication that is sent out through any social media platform is authentic and acceptable to the customers.
Undoubtedly, this is one way of ensuring that clients are happy and satisfied with the services that are offered by the company. Another important consideration is to have a good knowledge about the target audience. Among other things, knowing the audience ensures that the right content is sent out to them. It always pays to ensure that customers or the target audience is spoken to in a language well know to them. This eliminates confusion and ensures that the needs of the customers are fully met.
In addition, a good knowledge of the customer ensures that they can be targeted with communication that speaks directly to them. It is also essential to present the audience with thoughtful social media. This helps to provoke customers’ thinking and creates discussions that can be helpful in popularizing the company. The Google Company should also take time to define its goals for social media operations. The company should determine the number of people be reached and ensure that any communication being sent out is well packaged. It is helpful to think specifically about the target audience and devise communications that meet their needs.
By and large, social media networks play a very critical role in helping organization to succeed in the contemporary business world. Using social media networks, organizations are able to reach many clients and to develop strong relationships with existing as well as potential customers. There are, however, important considerations regarding the use of social media networks.
Apart from the apparent benefits of using social media networks, they equally present organizations with serious challenges that must be dealt with. It is thus imperative for business organizations to have properly formulated strategies for ensuring that social media networks are used for a good cause. No individual or company should be allowed to use social media networks for malicious reasons.
A number of things should be done by organizations. First, it is important to draw a clear line between the use of social media networks for personal and company purposes. Companies should also take time to audit how employees utilize social media networks and recommend good practices where necessary. Efforts should also be made to check whether the use of social media networks for company work is in line with the mission and objectives of the organization. All use of social media in organizations must follow laws and regulations of the land. Where possible, employees should be taught how best to make use of social media networks.
Ayanso, Anteneh and Kaveepan Lertwachara. Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Web Analytics. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2014. Print.
Brown, Rob. Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page Publishers, 2009. Print.
Cross, Michael. Social Media Security: Leveraging Social Networking While Mitigating Risk. Waltham, MA: Newnes, 2013. Print.
Institute of Business Ethics. 2011. The Ethical Challenges of Social Media. PDF file.
Jacobson, Jennifer. 42 Rules of Social Media for Small Business. Silicon Valley, CA: Happy About, 2009. Print.