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Why Google+ Isn't Google-worthy
Posted on July 31st 2013
Google has a wide scope of products aside from its search engine: Gmail, YouTube, Google Fiber, Google Maps, and more. These aren’t just average products, either. Each one is an innovative leader in its respective category. However, social media is an industry that’s proven difficult for the digital giant to dominate. And Google+ (click here if you need a crash course in Google+) is by no means Google’s only attempt to break into social media; it’s merely the most recent and successful of many tries.
Why won’t Google+ act like a Google product?
Google+ was eagerly greeted by the Google faithful when it was released in the summer of 2011, but after a short period, users were left wondering about its true value. What social void did Google+ fill? Google+ is simply a social network that allows you to completely control who sees your contributions, but this idea isn’t commonly understood among casual social users. So the real problem in getting people to use Google+ isn’t just the barrier of switching from one network to another, adding a new network to the arsenal, or not having enough incentive to try something different. The real barrier is about education. Most users, even Google+ fanboys would have a difficult time explaining why Google+ is unique and useful. If the communication hurdle can be bridged, there may yet be life in its digital veins.
Google+ is cooking the Internet books
I know someone reading this is seething right now, probably quoting a stat like, “Google+ is outpacing Twitter, according to Business Insider…” But, are they really? I’m not so certain the usage data provided stacks up. And I’m not the only one who thinks this. Because of the ubiquity of Google products, when the company decided to tether logins to each other (Gmail, YouTube, Google+) it skewed the stats. If I want to check Gmail, which I do all day, everyday, it automatically logs into Google+. That doesn’t seem like an accurate representation of my Internet use. Also, if you are thinking about creating a new Gmail account, you have no choice but to create a Google+ account. Google claims to be outpacing Twitter, the #2 in social media, by posting numbers of 359 million users, but in reality we now know that number is far from accurate.
How can Google + really provide value?
Without true innovation that’s intuitive (hangouts are nice, but not enough) Google+ will remain in digital purgatory. One solution for Google+ could be partnerships. Imagine if Google+ combined its capabilities with the likes of Netflix, eBay or Amazon. You could have instantaneous reviews, discuss products with other users, shoot videos of products in use or stream movies with a new friend in a Hangout. The possibilities are endless and could truly spark a social innovation—which in many cases is what sets Google products apart. As someone who uses a bevy of Google products, I would like nothing more than to have Google+ work out. But I refuse to blindly participate when the value is limited. How does Google+ increase its value? Have they already?