Social media trends and opportunities: Google's tips for brands

Low Lai Chow

At this year's Social Media Week Singapore, Laura Balkovich, Google's head of social, Asia Pacific, observed that six billion of the approximately seven billion people on earth already have a mobile phone. "There are more people who have mobiles than have running water or electricity," she said, adding that such a high level of access to technology was essentially "unprecedented".

The rapidly-changing technological environment not only impacts everyday life; it also shapes how people use the internet. And that, of itself, naturally affects Google. "At Google, we knew we had to create the next version of all our products as a result of this changing user behaviour," said Balkovich.

The culmination of this understanding is Google+, the firm's social network, which also works alongside an overarching philosophy of making sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. Providing users with unique and customisable experiences based on what Google gleans from their digital behaviour - such as their social network and location data - is a particular focus for the tech giant.