Google+ is Expanding Social Media Options for Clinical Trials

Will Google+ put a dent in Facebook? Maybe. Will it be the beginning of the end for Facebook? Unlikely. While it won’t replace Facebook, its introduction of Google+ is a significant one.

“Our goal is to make sharing on the web like sharing in real life. In real life we share different things with different people.” says Google CEO Larry Page.

Despite their dominance as a search engine, the $9 billion mega corporation Google has not had as much success in social media. But their new social networking site, Google +, may change this. Google + is growing in record numbers. In order to hype the launch and demand, membership is based on being “invited” to join.

Google+, launched in late June, had 25 million unique visitors as of July 24 and is growing at a rate of roughly one million visitors a day. In contrast, it took Facebook about three years to attract 25 million visitors, while Twitter took just over 30 months, according to comScore. It’s still a long way to go to rival Facebook’s 750+ million worldwide users
Basically, Google+ is a social network, much like Facebook. Its Stream is similar to Facebook’s News Feed. But Google+ has some unique features. The biggest difference is the segregation of contacts into various segments called Circles of people – work, friends, family, and school friends. This makes it easier to collecting send messages by individual audiences. Google+ has other features too….Sparks, lets people collect news and info about their interests, and Huddle, which lets some mobile users instant message (IM) with those in their ‘Circles’.

While Facebook is seen as social, LinkedIn is seen as professional, Google+ wants to compete with both social networks, combining them under one roof.

In terms of business, it’s not at all clear what Google is going to do with their brand pages and what characteristics they may have. However, for the pharmaceutical industry, Facebook’s move on August 15th to open its pages for patient comments resulted in several big Pharma companies (Janssen and Astra Zeneca) closing down their Facebook pages that accounted for some 60,000 patient ‘fans”. It will be interesting to see if Google + will provide a more favorable environment for the Pharma industry. Without a doubt, another social networking site will provide patients with additional environments for the formation of patient communities, and that’s good news for clinical trial recruitment.

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