Google+ Won't Kill Facebook or Twitter, Google Has a Bigger Agenda

Posted on July 18th 2011

One of the effects of Google+'s controlled roll out, primarily to tech geeks and Social Media nerds, was an avalanche of "Google+ will be a (fill in the blank) killer" posts.  Twitter - dead! Facebook - dead! Twitter and Facebook - dead! I've tried to hold off on such pronouncements because, A) that's the easy way out, and B) nobody knows what effects exactly Google+ is going to have on the online media habits of millions of people. Let's not forget, while 10 million users in just a couple of weeks is impressive, it's still a relatively small sample size.

Others have looked to dissect Google+, such as Ben Kunz, writing for Businessweek.com, who hailed Google+ for its lack of game mechanics (a point which I, and others, disagreed with in the comments section). Tom Moradpour went the linkbait route with his Five Fatal Flaws of Google+ post. Personally, I think it's a bit premature to call them fatal flaws because we don't have enough data to say they will ultimately derail the platform, and nothing is a fatal flaw when you're always in beta mode. I'm sure Google will make the necessary adjustments if they see problems and hear from users. Jason Falls, a voice of sanity in all this reminds us all to calm down and keep things in perspective regarding Google+.

Rather than examine Google+ on the micro level, my thoughts lean towards the macro.  Personal preference will determine whether you like Google+ more than Twitter, but when you pull out and look at the larger picture, the advantages of Google (not Google+) seem to be mounting and I'm not sure I can see someone else there who can bring the social firepower to the table to challenge Google.

While I think Google+ is a fine platform I find myself gravitating towards it because of the little red box in the upper right-hand corner. I see it on Google+, I see it in Gmail, I see it in Google News (which has just added some intriguiging game mechanics) and I wouldn't be surpised if I see it on YouTube in the near future.  Google is going to own my online experience not because all their offerings are superior - though they are all of a very high quality - they are going to own my online experience because they offer me a connected experience of very high quality offerings.

Take a look at this terrific photo essay from Vincent Wong in which he describes What G+ is Really About. According to Vincent, Google+ isn't so much a threat to Facebook or Twitter (at least not right now) as it is a threat to Microsoft and even Apple because of what Google is building. The breadth of the platforms, especially when you include Android, makes Google a nearly unavoidable part of just about everyone's life.

RickLiebling

Rick Liebling

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Comments

Posted on July 18th 2011 at 7:06PM

I have to agree with the author on his asssessment of Google Plus thus far. That "little red box" shows up on 3-5 tabs I have open at any given time for work (I use Docs, Gmail, Reader, and Search extensively)—way more than the one tab each I have opened to Facebook or Twitter.  

I like the idea of Plus being the unifying factor among all of Google's products; I'm curious to see how/if they integrate Reader into the Plus offering. 

Maggie O'Toole
Posted on July 18th 2011 at 11:06PM

Hi Rick, like you, I believe that Google+ is more than just a challange to Facebook, Twitter, ect. and that no one really knows what it has the potential to become.  I thought Vincent Wong's piece was thought provoking and have been considering many of the same questions.  Personally, I think it's here to change the way we search and access information.  If you're intereested, you can read my post Google+ and the future of search.

Posted on July 21st 2011 at 9:59PM

Exactly! This isn't about competing with Facebook or Twitter. Seriously, does anyone think Google needs to compete with them for the money? Google+ and all of the recent developments at Google are part of a much bigger picture. I have been saying how a big part of it is the broader effort to make the search engine better by improving relevance and helping weed out the webspam, paid links and content farms. This would also help improve the quality of the web in general too. But you are so right - it is a much bigger juggernaut that Google is building. Just watch what happens when Google launches Google+ pages for businesses. Separating your business from Google, and to some extent your personal web presence from your business (and Google) will be unthinkable.

GrowMap
Posted on July 24th 2011 at 8:12PM

Don't you think handing Google total control over your business is a pretty big risk?

Posted on July 22nd 2011 at 1:08AM

Like your point about the red button, Rick. And Maggie's comments on the search angle are bang on...  I personally don't see Google+ as anything more than a hat in the ring at this point, but I think their strength in innovation combined with possible celebrity explosion might give it more fuel than we think. If you're interested, check out my 5 Reasons Google+ Will Succeed (and 10 Reasons It Will Fail): http://www.augmo.com/5-reasons-google-will-succeed-10-reasons-it-will-fail/

Posted on July 22nd 2011 at 1:47PM

BTW...the little red notification square is a very clever covert game mechanic...

RickLiebling
Posted on July 26th 2011 at 8:52PM

Totally agree. There's a great chrome extension that gives you a little G+ square so even when you aren't on a Google site, you know when you have updates. Addictive.

Posted on July 22nd 2011 at 10:01PM

Yep, I'll go to YouTube to "get away from it all" and I'll see that little red square.  I'll get on + then.  When I didn't want to, I'll now want to.

Posted on July 23rd 2011 at 3:45AM

Rick, your post reminded me of Tomi Ahonen's memorable blog post that dissected the REAL battle in the mobile space - the War for Platform dominance.

It's here, in case you'd like to read it: http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/07/understanding-smart...

All success

Dr.Mani

RickLiebling
Posted on July 26th 2011 at 8:51PM

Thanks Dr. Mani, I'll be sure and check it out.

Posted on July 23rd 2011 at 9:38AM

You say Google, I say Acme Corp. Google are building an online country.

GrowMap
Posted on July 24th 2011 at 6:33PM

Am I the only person who doesn't want to let Google make all my decisions for me? If we keep handing them monopolistic power there will come a day when we look around and the only thing left is Google. Does anyone remember when some people lived in towns where there was only one employer who paid them just enough to stay in debt to the company store? THAT is our future according to Google.

Don't believe me? Look at my post about the Google Panda update and pay particular attention to how many stores Google Shopping offers us (five major brands - expandable to twenty at least for now) versus how many the shopping sites they made harder to find offer us (1000s of small businesses who are IMHO far more deserving of our support than the big brands).

Those who only use Google only see what Google wants them to see. Few realize that they hold the future of any small business or blog that counts on traffic from their many properties. They can choke them off any time they feel like it - and don't think they won't. Their CEO announced in the now infamous Internet cesspool comment that they plan to "clean up the Internet" by favoring big brands. Every move they make is taking us down that path.

Does anyone else care? If you do please speak up or at least come by and say hello and consider collaborating. I'm feeling like I am one voice crying in the wilderness.

Posted on July 27th 2011 at 5:03PM

From a perspective of somebody that is just looking for a better fit than facebook. I have facebook but there is a love and hate status between us. The only reason I have facebook is to be in contact with close friends that in other countries. 

I have read many articles regarding the doom of Facebook & Twitter, I think that who ever likes Facebook with stick with it and who ever feels like me, will close their facebook accounts. Why so much speculation? why are people hating Google for trying to bring some competicion to Facebook? If you love Facebook, just keep doing what makes you happy. 

I'm actually very happy because I really do want the change and I'm sure there is more people out there that feel the same way. It's not that I think that Facebook is bad and just that in some way I feel like I don't have a say on my own account.