Since its launch last June, we’ve talked about Google+ a lot. It’s been called the social network that could be a “Facebook killer,” but is it really a social network? As someone who works in social media and the SEO world professionally, I’ve spent a decent amount of time on Google+, and after reading Drew Olanoff’s article in The Next Web, I agree with him that it’s not a social network. It’s actually a social layer.

What is a social layer?

As Olanoff explains, Google+ is actually “a series of tools that are being layered into every single product that Google has ever made popular.” That’s the social layer. It’s a way for internet users already using Google products to share things they find within those products with their friends, family, etc. What Google has done with Google+ is create a string that ties all of its products together into one thread. Google+ is what connects search, YouTube, Docs, etc. together. And Olanoff isn’t the only one who thinks this.

Before developing Google+, the company almost bought Twitter, but decided against it because according to TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, “Google needed a social layer that could integrate into all its product, not just a micro-blogging platform.” It was after turning down Twitter that the search behemoth decided to get serious in the world of social media. And this time it wouldn’t be Google Buzz … at least that’s what the company thought.

The head of Google+, Vic Gundotra, told The New York Times that perception of Google+ being a ghost town just isn’t true. He said that “we have never seen anything grow this fast. Ever.” Gundotra also said Google+ is much more than a social network, it’s the future of Google.

“This is just the next version of Google,” he told The Times. “Everything is being upgraded. We already have users. We’re not upgrading them to what we consider Google 2.0.”

It’s interesting to hear someone who is so closely connected to Google+ to make reference to the fact that it’s not a social network. When Gundotra said “Google 2.0,” he was making a statement that sheds a lot more light on what Google envisions for the future. Google+ is already 100 percent integrated into the rest of the Google suite. Posts show up in search results, you can share videos directly from YouTube, the list goes on. But what does the future of Google hold?

I strongly believe that while Google has already integrated Google+ into nearly every facet of the Google suite, we’re going to see more developments and integration circled around the Google+ platform. What do you think the future holds for Google and it’s social layer?

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