Google’s attempt to invade Asia involves idols08 December, 2011 by Chad
Today marks the 6th anniversary of AKB48’s theater debut at Akihabara and will be celebrated in the evening with a grand performance no doubt, a performance that we tried applying to but sadly failed to get tickets for. Instead, we’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines.
At 12.30 PM this afternoon though, many waited in anticipation as the AKB48 YouTube channel revealed a special announcement. AKB48 will be teaming up with search giant Google, to make use of their new social network Google+ in their future efforts to reach out to global fans.
The announcement comes as quite a surprise that will likely shake up social media news in no time. Having met with lukewarm reception in the rest of the world, Google+ hopes to tackle the Japanese social media instead. A market that proved impossible by other foreign attempts in the past.
But will Google succeed where others have failed? Well they certainly hope so, having roped in Japan’s most popular idol sensation. One cannot doubt the influence AKB48 has demonstrated in recent times. However, Google has collaborated with many other global celebrities in the past to varying results.
Today, AKB48 producer promised that all local 48 groups, AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48 as well as overseas and future efforts will make use of Google+ as their medium of choice. The campaign, titled “AKB48 Now on Google+” is already effective immediately to some extent. You can find the AKB48 member profiles here.
Fans will be able to befriend members on Google+ and in turn AKB48 members will be able to use Google+ to reach out to fans through the network’s “Hangout” feature, that functions as sort of a live chat. AKB48 performances will also be streamed live to Google+. Unfortunately, one caveat is that AKB48 members below 18 years old would have to be omitted from participating in the service.
Supermerlion wouldn’t be nearly as successful without having benefited from many of Google’s APIs and SEO advantages that we have been granted. But despite being a firm supporter of Google’s technologies, observations has been that the social network has still has a ways to go to catch up to Facebook’s 7 year lead or the familiarity of Japanese SNS like Mobage and Mixi. Ultimately, it will be time and conversions that will determine whether Google+ wins out on the competition, and not just the inclusion of a bunch of Japanese idols.
Regardless, can we expect a sudden surge of AKB48 fans signing up for Google+ right now? I signed up for Google+ a while ago but can’t really find a use for it yet though. Facebook will remain our method for divulging information for now.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.