Google+ Will Be Bigger Than Facebook
Google has learned from its mistakes. Orkut was too kludgy to appeal to most users and lacked necessary support from the Google executive team — you can’t win at social on a small scale. Wave was too complex to explain to anyone outside the Googleplex – the elevator pitch for Wave was a slide deck. Buzz was too tightly tied to Gmail and only to Gmail — those of us who don’t rely on Gmail saw no value-add from Buzz.
Google has learned from these efforts and this will help Google+ succeed. Google+ isn’t kludgy, it’s far easier to use than Facebook. Google has massive support from the Google executive team. Google+ started with a simple +1 button and is features are being grown organically — it’s easy to understand and easy to explain. Google+ is being tied into every Google service offering — this integration will massively increase its usefulness and adoption rate.
Twitter and Facebook both fail to accept that I have multiple interests and multiple social groups. My techie friends don’t necessarily want to see my political posts. My political allies probably don’t want to see my family posts. Facebook and Twitter see me as some sort of mono-dimensional cartoon character of a person, and that is not who I am.
Google+ is rolling out with “Circles”. Each person in your Google+ network can be added to one or more circles. “Circles” is sort of a stupid name, but “Groups” is already overused and would have caused confusion. I can add my firearm’s friends to one circle and my web publishing friends to another circle. Many people will be in both groups.
Google+ is More “Real World” than Facebook
Facebook is a place I go to, but Google is a place I live. I log into Facebook once every couple of days. It’s a chore. I have to go there. Google is a widget in my browser. I don’t have to go to Google — I am already there. I use Google several hundred times a day. I use multiple Google services — as do most people. Google YouTube? Google Maps? Google Picasa? Google Translate? Google is almost everywhere I want to be.
Google+ takes social networking out of the web and moves it into the real world. Imagine the integration possibilities with the myriad of available Google services. How long do you think it will be until Google Offers starts to promote deals only for people in your Circles?
Google+ is sticky. When you try to leave, maybe to get some work done or spend time with the family or play Xbox, it drags you back in. If the small but extremely visible red icon on the shiny new black top bar doesn’t pull you back in, the email notifications which are enabled by default will. These features will help make Google+ far more addictive than Facebook.
Google+ is easy to use, a feature which neither Twitter nor Facebook can honestly claim. This will increase adoption rates among non-techies, which has always been a problem for the social awkward Google culture.
The current version of Google+ includes some interesting, but probably oddball, features. These include Sparks, Hangouts, and Huddles. Most of these will fail. Google is exceptionally good at failing, and this is very important. Google will be able to add and remove features rapidly — far more rapidly than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Facebook could earn one billion dollars this year. Google will earn ten times that number, and it is sitting on tens of billions of dollars of cash. Even without the advantage of its engineering expertise, Google can simply outspend Facebook to make Google+ a success.