Google's approach to STPing in online social networks


If LinkedIn and Facebook are essentially they same thing, social networks, except mutually exclusively targeting different personas, the 'work' and 'personal' personas - is this the best way to Segment, Target and Position (STP) in the world of social networks? How might a new entrant try and compete in this space?

When it comes to social networks, Google, at least, has found an entirely different way to segment Internet users. Ignoring the idea of segmenting against personas, or even niches, Google is simply segmenting between those that already use Google and those that don't. Google is launching a social network - and if you are already a Google user - you are already on it. Says Google's Vic Gundotra:
“Google, thank god, has a few assets. We have hundreds of millions people who love us — they love YouTube, they love Gmail, they love search. What if we were to go across each of those categories and rethink them? The things we have to do are obvious, but Google hasn’t done them. And so Bradley and I have the odd chance to help lead the company to go fix these sins.”
Google's launch of it's Plus product leverages Google's breadth of Internet properties, from Google Profiles to Contacts and +1 Recommendations. The new Plus product weave these properties together. Google is duplicating Facebook and LinkedIn, but in a way that brings your Google experiences together. It is segmenting, targeting and positioning on an entirely different dimension to that which others have tried before.

For its segment, Google is positioning itself with metaphors that more closely resemble real life. Hangouts are video chats where your social circle can drop in chat with you. Others who see you are chatting can join in. Other elements, such as managing contact lists, have also been more intuitive and easier to understand.

Time will tell if Google understands its target as well enough as Bounty understands its target. Will Google be able to Plus position itself against the targets' needs?