The launch of Google+ (G+) remains an ongoing, by invitation only, event. The evolutionary rollout has given the latest social-networking site a caché of security and exclusivity that (lest we forget) Facebook enjoyed about five years ago. But is Google out to replace Facebook in the hearts and minds (and) of the world’s social media junkies?
In recent days, a number of commentators say ‘No.’ Not only is Google+ not expressly trying to do so (at least not any time soon), it also is using some of the very techniques that got MySpace, then Facebook, to the top of the SM ladder.
at Squareberrry Social Media Management believes Google is trying not to become the go-to social media network, but a social-media network in the midst of all the other fingers Google has throughout the internet pie: “So why does Google even came up with its own social networking site? On the Web, traffic is money and domination, a company dominates with traffic. Traffic will always mean money on the Internet.” So Google wants it presence and its brand in the social-networking space, even if it does not get the lion’s share of attention in that space.
If you have a Google account, click on the ‘Even More…’ button along your tool bar to remind yourself of just how many ways Google influences our use of the internet – both as a means to other content and as a content producer itself. So should we be surprised that Google wants to get into the SM market as well? Remember: Google has tried twice already (Buzz! and Wave).
But Google’s programmers are smart enough to learn from their own and others’ mistakes, and perhaps G+ has just enough to make itself a power player in 2012 (by which time it will be open to the general public).G+ two ‘tricks’ that might give it the muscle to leapfrog Facebook as Facebook leaped MySpace ca.2008: Circles and Hangouts.
Circles offers a graphical, drag-and-drop simplicity to do what Facebook allows you to do by creating Lists. The result is the same: you can post (or read) information specific for a subset of your mass of online friends. But as he reports, only some 5% of Facebook users use the feature, and many are not even aware of it.
Hangouts are video conversations within/among the people of a Circle who can stay right where they are. No need to leave the G+ network or launch a plugin. Or even leave the desk: the record hangout has gone on for 4 or 5 days already! Yes, and will bring it into Facebook, but already FB looks like the straggler in the social-networking race.
But all is not primary colors in Google+ Land, Google has been deleting numerous of the 20-odd million people who have been pulled into the Beta testing of the networking system. Google’s spokespeople say the policy expressly states the need to use one’s real name, but many in the G+ testing claim that either security concerns encourage them not to use their full names or they have used their real names, but Google’s software does not recognize characters or combinations (especially in non English names) and so deletes their accounts without appeal/verification.
Sure, bugs and misfires are bound to happen. But how will these to services be lining up come this time next year?