As I poke around Google+ I see hints of future features that will eventually merge the online digital world together. So many obvious features relate to white collar jobs. However, there is nothing yet for retail businesses specifically, like useful tools that retail jewelers can use to talk to jewelry customers.
Yesterday, one of the Google+ engineers requested feedback on how the videoconferencing Hangout could be used for business. Within (literally) minutes there were 303 responses! However, not a single one related to retail businesses.
As of today, I will predict your vendors using the video Hangouts to talk to you; but I still don't see a good use for video conversation between you and your customers. If the video quality were better I could argue the idea of showing jewelry, but honestly the video quality sucks compared to normal webcam programs.
Don't get me wrong; the concept of the video Hangout is great. I think it would also be a perfect forum for future jWAG mastermind discussions between you, me, and my team. It's just that this early field trial of the product drops audio and video. Some people even get disconnected.
Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday that the Hangouts require newer computers. You need a computer with a webcam and at least a 2GHz processor and 4GB of RAM. To put it another way, if your computer is older than December 15, 2009 you probably can't use the Hangouts easily.
Due to overwhelming requests, Google has changed their development strategy and is going to open some type of business profile soon, maybe even this month, instead of waiting until the end of 2011 as they originally announced.
By the end of July 2011, Google will change the way your Google Profile works. They've already made changes that make it confusing. For example, I have accounts in Blogger, AdSense, Alerts, Merchant Center and many others. Previously these services were easy to find from your normal profile page, but now you have to go here: https://www.google.com/dashboard
Bookmark that page for yourself; it will save you some confusion later.
The following are my list of educated guesses of how Google+ will integrate other features.
1. Google Calendar will soon have a connection into G+ that allows you to create events. The event will be sharable with specific Circles and you will be able to use it much the same way as event invitations on other systems. I'm suggesting this because Google Calendar was upgraded to the new G+ design and there's been a lot of talk about it amongst users.
I think it would be amazing to create a new event on my iPad, iPhone or Android and push it out to my Circles. For you, this would mean managing a store event without needing to be logged in to Google Plus on your computer.
2. Many users want Google Reader integration. Reader is useful when you read a regular set of news websites and blogs and want to pull them all into a single place instead of visiting 10 websites all the time. Sharing something directly from Reader to your Stream will save a few steps of having to copy/paste URLs directly. I see this happening, but not particularly useful for you in your retail business.
3. Google+ engineers announced that you will soon have the ability to import all your email contacts via a CSV file upload. This will be very convenient since you can upload your entire customer list into a Customer Circle. The assumption is that emails already registered with G+ will auto-attach to G+ accounts, and the rest will get invitations to join. With a few clicks you could have a new communication method for your customers.
4. Google Places integration... I was going to give you my thoughts on this in today's Nugget, but what I have to tell you would double the length of this Nugget so I'll just save it for tomorrow.
I'd like to hear some of your feedback, even if they are thoughts of loathing regarding yet another "internet thingy."
Thanks for reading,
Jeweler Website Advisory Group