This past Tuesday Google announced the new social networking platform called the Google+ project. It clearly has Facebook in its sights but will it succeed or go the way of Google Buzz, Orkut and Google Wave?
There is certainly a lot of, no pun intended, buzz going around about the Google+ project and rightly so, after all anything Google has a hand it surely gets a lot of attention. There is surely no shortage of articles to read all about this and I invite you to, pun intended, Google the Google+ project and read to your heart's content.
One article in particular caught my attention and it was from The New York Times. In their piece, they make a very compelling argument that Google may in fact be too late to the Social Media dance as they reference the fact that "In May, 180 million people visited Google sites, including YouTube, compared with 157.2 million on Facebook, according to comScore. But Facebook users looked at 103 billion pages and spent an average of 375 minutes on the site, while Google users viewed 46.3 billion pages and spent 231 minutes."
For those of you keeping score at home that's 103 billion pages for Facebook vs. a little more than 46 billion for Google.
As far as Google's unique selling proposition, or USP... one of the big selling points, at least Google hopes so, is that is designed specifically for sharing with groups, i.e. friends, family, co-workers etc., rather than with all of another user's friends and more importantly, the entire internet like say on Facebook.
Not sure if that alone will be enough to convince people to use yet another social network, even it does come with the Google name attached to it... again, I offer Google Buzz, Orkut and Google Wave as Exhibits A, B and C as to why just having the Google name on something does not guarantee future success.
Then there's the name itself... According to Vic Gundotra, the senior vice president who oversees Google’s social products, the "Plus" is reflective of the fact that it "takes products from Google and makes them better and ‘project’ because it’s an ongoing set of products,” said Vic Gundotra, the senior vice president who oversees Google’s social products." Meanwhile internally, according to the New York Post, the project is codenamed "Emerald Sea."
If they're only two choices I'll take Emerald Sea. At least it conjures up visions of Dorothy and Toto, et al and of a wizard and all that good stuff.
As far as the Google+ project being a direct competitor of Facebook, Mr. Gundotra claims that's just not the case. "We aren’t trying to replace what’s currently available, we just want to introduce a new way to connect online with the people that matter to you."
And if you believe that... well you get my point. And perhaps Mr. Gundotra was being truthful when he said Google's not trying to replace "what's currently available" a not-so-veiled reference to Facebook but rest assured they want their piece of the ever-expanding social network pie and are tired of watching Mr. Zuckerberg have all the fun.
And if you're so inclined, here's a brief video Google produced to help explain the Google+ project.