Not so long ago, the trend within companies was to jump on the social media train. And most of them did that because their competitors and everybody else was doing it. They just jumped without knowing where they were going, how much the ticket costs and what to do during the ride.
…as Slate proclaims today. This is just another (intentional?) logic fallacy article caused by over generalization or the urge for sensationalistic, traffic driving titles. Where are they right though, is the point that Google+ has no chance (did it ever had?) to overthrown Facebook dominance in the (generalists) social networks competition.
There are too many users with too much history and new features added periodically on Facebook so the chance of repeating the histories of HI5 and Myspace are pretty slim.
On the other hand, Google+ is too big for Google to fail. Doing that can have worse effects than the failures that Google Buzz and Google Wave.
Instead of dying, Google+ will be re branded. From the social network it tried to be in the social hub it can be. This means that all the current (and future) assets that Google has, will be slowly and nicely integrated together under the same concept, and they will no longer be private tools but social, collaborative instruments.
And this process is not new, but in these ADHD driven times, people are (too) quickly to forget and (too) quickly prone to repeat the mistakes of the history. Google is now in the same position that Yahoo was a few years ago, but maybe they will make it work. A few years ago, Yahoo had profiles. And then they thought that they have a large enough user base to monetize those profiles and turn them into a social network. And so Yahoo 360 was born. For reasons I cannot remember, that miserably failed (as Google+ will soon) and they turned to the social hub approach and Yahoo Pulse was born (which again miserably
fails failed and it will be returning to its origins as Yahoo Profiles).
But Google stands a big chance here for multiple reasons:
- Not like Yahoo, Google has a lot a real assets that people actually use
- Google has a mobile platform (and a browser, and a netbook OS) where they can push their product
- Google is deeply integrating G+ into the search results through authorship. Every author out there wants their search results optimized so they will join, use and exploit the platform
So Google+ is not dead and will not die. It will just follow its own course on another more successful track
Google+ just launched a few hours ago what has been demanded from the beginning: pages for brands. While I don’t think this is very important (yet) by itself, it is important for the effect that it will have on FB fan pages.
When G+ launched, I quickly switched from FB. Not because it was the new hot thing in town or the graphical interface of creating circles, but because of the selective sharing options.
After a few weeks, annoyed being by the continuous mass spam requests and Google ignoring the issue, I have discovered that Facebook quickly adapted and selective sharing was added. Well in fact there was there for a long time but now it simply got more visible and optimized. And I made the switch back. For good or at least for the next 2 years.
Now Google is launching pages for companies and it was forced to bring new stuff on the table to attract users from Facebook. And what they did, was simply copying the G+ personal profiles and changing a few labels. Segmenting fans of fan pages is a powerful marketing toy but without an active user base is not a tool but only a toy.
And now back to the good news: expect Facebook to retaliate in maximum 1-2 weeks (there is the pressure from the Christmas shopping season) and G+ will be once again left behind.
As a conclusion, Google+ is the greatest thing that could have happen to the users. To the Facebook users
When Google+ appeared I made the switch from Facebook. My reasons were not the usual crap about privacy and games polluting my stream but were more practical: I am very lazy and like to have unified services. But the more I use it the more doubts I have:
- The API: OK, the Facebook didn’t have one in the beginning either but that’s not an excuse. I want to have apps in G+ that enhance the experience. The first one that comes in mind is Flixter app by Flixter. I want to be able to post and rate movies to my circles and get recommendations from them. Apparently Google doesn’t understand that in 2011 APIs are a must for any social service that want’s to survive.
- SPAM. Oh yeah the spam issue. I see a lot of articles about poor innocent users having their accounts suspended for being plain idiots but in real life I don’t see it. I have submitted tens of spam reports to G+ team and the accounts are still alive and kicking. And the problem has a simple fix. The issue is not the spammers, because whatever you do they will never go away. The BIG problem is G+ helping them. G+ has a feature that acts like a bug that allows anyone in 3 clicks to spam hundreds of users. It goes like this.
- You first add a few high-profile users
- Than you go to the circles tab, and find people
- On there, go to more actions, select all and add all the people to a circle
- Repeat the procedure a few times and suddenly you have thousands of users in a spam circle
- Incoming section. Ok, basically Twitter functions the same way: any user can add anyone without reciprocating (Facebook requires a 2 way connection). But Twitter has done it better and I don’t think that is rocket science to reverse engineer it:
- Mass add is suspicious behavior on Twitter and might get your account suspended. You can’t add more than 2000 followers unless a significant percentage of them follow you back
- Twitter doesn’t annoy you on their frontpage with spam from those that have added you
And one last thing: I had expected Google to pull the big guns on Facebook and this be a quick war. Apparently until now Facebook plays catch very well and more than that pushes forward giving Google a great competitor.