Google+ has been viewed by many as the search giant’s answer to Facebook.  A lot of people believe it’s just another social networking service where friends share photos, status updates and messages with one another.  The company’s foray into the social media space has been a mystery to some and has its share of doubters.  But it’s really more than that.

Google+ is really Google’s value added contribution to its already dominating search. Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to Google+.  But the real value to Google+ is its groundwork for an enhanced level of search quality.  It’s Google’s way of starting a hub that will ultimately connect all the other Google products like Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books and more. Piece by piece Google is starting to roll out these products and combine them into a user experience by way of Google+.

First let’s start with Google Authorship.  Bloggers can link their Google+ profile to the content they create. A Google+ account with a headshot that is attached to all your posts can offer value to bloggers who can now claim their posts instead of having Google show ‘another’ version ahead of their own.  It allows the searcher to find the person who truly generated the content and lets the content provider know the real author will be found.

Want your business to appear on Google Maps, Google Local, etc. so that you can tell your prospective customers where you are, what you sell and your business hours?  You need a Google+ Local Business page now.  This way reviews, hours, pictures, videos, local search are all housed in one place.  This account must be managed by a real person with a real Google+ personal account.

The newest introduction of Google+ Communities gives you the opportunity to connect with those who help enhance the things you already love.  You want better music, book recommendations, can’t remember the name of something—or want to find a community of skiers?  When you have Google+, those communities and that book recommendation just appear when you search for your best guess.

Simply put – imagine if Google knew all the info about you that Facebook knew.  They would be better equipped to serve you and what you are looking for. By gradually absorbing bloggers, small businesses, etc. they will ultimately make all of us – social media fans and doubters – users.