If you’re a social-networks maven, you’ve probably heard a lot, perhaps even too much, about the exclusive/VIP/by-invite-only launch of Google+. As noted earlier, I am not on that A-List (either), but many smart people not on that list have already begun to handicap the fight between Google+ and Facebook. My goal is simply to introduce some of the issues they raise, offer some resources for you to read about the features of each, and provide a bit of context about the mother-of-all-social-media-battles.
Out of the trenches, Google+ conceivably could tie together what most of us do on Facebook (‘Friends,’ family, sharing holiday snaps, poking folks on their birthdays…) with what many of us do on LinkedIn (post resumes, create ‘networks’ of business peers, discuss developments in our industries…). True, one could do all this through Facebook, but given the millions of stories about, few people are aware of the possibility of distinguishing social friends from work colleagues. Google+ has that distinction built in at the foundation.
So will that make Google+ powerful enough to deliver a knockout blow?
The software systems gurubelieves Google+ has “a at dethroning Facebook.” He gives a thorough discussion of five reasons he believes Google+ could rise victorious, and the one he discusses most are the creation of ‘Circles’ of peers who never meet within your larger Google+ account. The circles are made first, then people are invited to them. Thus conversations with and about your nonprofit’s work can not get jumbled into your friends’ plans for a three-day beach getaway next week.
Two other advantages he gives G+ (Hey Google! If you go with that moniker, I want credit and a check!) are really two sides of the same coin: Google is already a part of everyone’s online life in one way or another – and Google thus already has a great deal of information about your interests and likely trails on the net. Once you have a Google+ account and offer specific ‘personal’ info, that will be treasure trove no advertiser would dare miss dipping his hand in.
Google+ also offers ‘huddles’ (Dave does not much care for the nomenclature within Google+, and I find myself agreeing with him) – video conferences accessible within the G+ interface. But Facebook quickly countered that particular move with a deal to tie its parts still closer to Microsoft and to bring Skype into the mix. Will a new unity beat out a combination of already wildly communications platforms?
doesn’t think so – and to use Google+! Facebook is just “too big to fail” (Poor Greece has not received ‘Too Big…’ status, and therefore must be doomed to collapse). So what if all your 50-odd best friends switch? You’ll still be using Facebook unless each of the 50-odd’s own 50-odd best friends switch – and so on. And the features he really likes about Google+ – ‘circles’ of distinct communications-groups, video, etc – are “just a ‘Facebook update’ away,” given the behemoth’s willingness to borrow features seen elsewhere. Arguably, Facebook is itself someone else’s idea codified for mass consumption.
Much of the success of either platform will depend on what people consider convenient and cool. Facebook has the edge on both, though perhaps only because of familiarity, not popularity. And most of us can’t get to Google+ yet, anyway. If you’re on the outside, a great series of videos on the features of the system are available at.
I see two major pluses in Google’s corner: First, while Google+ feels exclusive, its cool factor will be huge. And once opened, the younger set will be willing to try it and probably be glad to be back on a social network that. Younger users will draw their friends, though not 50 at a time, and a migration will likely happen. True, it might take a few years – aeons in the social-networking world – but the easy ability to ensure their circle of drinking buddies don’t present pictures to business contacts met at a conference will likely be the second advantage to both young professionals and to anyone who had been gun-shy about joining any networks.
Of course, with that kind of success, you know your mom and dad are going to join sooner or later.