Google+ appears to be having a problem with connecting to the consumer audience out there - I want to know why.
Could it be that the brands that appeal to consumers, are not there yet enmass? Could it be that the engagement options are limited? Could it be that the 3rd party developer community that has made Facebook so useful is not yet invited to the party?
The answer is yes, yes, and yes - but I'm being patient and seeing that it is coming. Comparing the audience on G+ to Facebook for me though is like comparing the audiences of The New Yorker to USA Today - G+ seems to be filled with a lot more conversations about interesting stuff than Facebook ever was. What I believe can happen is that Google will continue adding benefits to being a part of G+ until mainstream consumers relent and let Google provide them awesome free services everywhere in exchange for their personal data.
We should expect to see a maturing of the audience in G+ as it grows to resemble more mainstream online social users. Google is doing more with 3rd party developers, but brands are still waiting to see if the G+ experiment is worth them investing in yet. I call it the 'experiment' because Google is famous for acquiring & rolling out awesome new stuff, testing market adoption and then deciding to kill the program is adoption is only a few million users - for anyone else a few million users would be a awesome, but for Google it seems like the number has to be much higher when determining go / no-go on a product or service. I think G+ is past that evaluation and now Googlers are trying to enhance the platform to drive consumer connections.
What's it Mean - G+ certainly has a way to go in providing a rich consumer experience and fans will probably have to wait until after the Facebook stock offering and it's associated hoopla have subsided though - G+ won't get much press, except in comparison, leading up to that momentous event, so let's promise to come back and revisit this question in a few months time.
What to Do Now - Brands and restaurants have to go and claim their G+ assets and prepare for what will be a serious contender for the consumer mind share. Maybe also set up a more friendly link using +Gplus.to (brought to you free courtesy of Şirzat Aytaç) and tie it into your Twitter stream.