The Social Layer vs The Social Ecosystem

Google+ is now part of the everyday social network lexicon. A number of brands have taken to try Hangouts as a way to connect with their customers. The ultimate customer panel? Perhaps.  Brand business pages are now becoming  a de facto part of the social media team’s marketing mix almost as a means to safeguard the brand or else jeopardize the integrity of the company at the expense of being brand-jacked.

Engaging with customers / brand advocates, social media highjacking, the battle for SEO even – all the seemingly appropriate hallmarks of a solid social network contender to Facebook most Google diehards would say. But then again, maybe not…

A high-ranking Google Engineer, the head of Engineering, no less posited a searing critique of Google admitted that Google+ is NOT a social network, rather it is a “Social Layer.” Later Google’s top “social” executive, Vic Gundotra retorted and if anything, verified the dissenting Engineer’s point of view that Google will bring a social layer to each of its services, including YouTube, so that the social graph of families and friends can be put into effect, more so than they can right now in terms of engagement.

So how does social layer differ from say a social ecosystem as in Facebook’s model of having the total social experience contained within the site – analogous to a Las Vegas casino – just replace the words of the saying ‘casino with Facebook and the mantra still stays the same – what happens in Facebook stays in Facebook.

The social layer it seems is meant to be an overlay of interconnectedness for the social customer  a user experience path which allows users to seamlessly hop around within the Google network (YouTube, Google+, Google News and its various other channels)  all the while feeding into the Google mothership of Google the search engine in an effort to move away from semantic search to the holy grail of contextual search.

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