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Google+ already influences search results. But isn't this partly what they are under anti-trust investigation for? The more they tilt the field to favor their properties, the more trouble they get... it will take time but ask MS if it slowed them down when they went through it.

Facebook has that pesky number of 750,000,000+ users... many in places where Google is not as dominant as in North America. Facebook pages and interactions still influence search results... Certainly on Bing which offers a far better ROI for search advertising for a small biz than Google. As can Facebook ads! Twitter seems like a rounding error - but tweets still influence search results and consider that they just rebuffed Google again... partly because they are integrated right into iOS 5 and ~250,000,000 users on that platform by end of this year.

So the game is afoot. Google have huge challenges ahead. Google suck at product launches and there are many battles to come. 5 or 6 products on one day? C'mon. And what the hell did they do to Google Places... Android is going to struggle to make money for handset makers - MS already makes more money in royalties from Android makers than they do off Windows 7 Mobile. Remember those 6,000 patents that Apple, MS, Rim etc won from Nortel. More licensing, patent suits in the mobile world is inevitable.

All this to say while I may disagree on who might or might not be the highest leverage player and for how long - I completely agree with your ending statement. Get Social and stay the course cause the platforms are going to change. With the unprecedented rate of change that's taking place, being social and as "now" as possible is a survival necessity.

3 years, 9 months ago on Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus