As many of us are still racing to figure out Facebook and Twitter, Google has dropped another bombshell on us with the introduction of Google+. The hype is certainly there, but I know many of you are asking. Do we really need another social network?
The answer? Well it just depends on how you look at it. Ten years ago, we didn't need Facebook or Twitter, but for better or worse they both came and they changed the world - not to mention the very face of communication. The impact of both of these services on the world has been significant. Remember, Osama Bin Ladden's death broke on Twitter!
It's Not A Killer
We all remember the story of MySpace and Facebook. MySpace pages were abandoned in droves, in favor of the newly hyped Facebook network. The reason, Facebook served a need in the market that MySpace couldn't provided. It gave us an evolutionary change that we all needed by better enabling us to connect with the people that we knew and already loved. This was a game changer.
Twitter also brought us a few new things. For one, it has completely changed our perspective on privacy. It is an open network with open expectations. It has also shown us the unbelievable power of instantaneous communication. Twitter has really become the true heartbeat of the internet.
Awhile ago, I wrote a post explaining why Twitter will never go away. My case isn't as much for the service as it is for the ideas that it brought forward. In my opinion, Google+ is just another sign of that.
Social Networking, but Better
At first glance, Google+ looks a lot like Facebook, but after some use, it feels a lot like Twitter. It seems that Google has taken the best of both worlds and brought them together into something new and exciting. In many ways, for those of us who love social networking, it is an opportunity for us to start again, and rebuild our social life from scratch.
I think that it is important to see Google+ as more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is going to be significant, and will be a part of the conversation for years to come, but right now it is really there to fix the flaws of our current systems. One of the simple "fixes" that it provides is Circles. Circles allows us to break those that we follow into individual groups. This way, our work contacts and our family contacts will be grouped differently and will only see messages intended for them. This type of control is a natural part of Google+, and scratches a major itch for many Facebook users.
Circles let you organize who you follow, and what they see. That's new!
Everybody Stay Calm
All of these networks coming with their own bit of hype. Twitter was all anyone could talk about just last year, as news stations and pretty much everyone else started "tweeting." Facebook is still the story as its user-base continues to explode. Google's launch of plus was highly anticipated, highly hyped, and so far highly successful. They are already on track to hit 20 million users in the very near future. That is double the number of users on Foursqaure, by the way.
So far, there still isn't a perfect social network. We all love some of them and hate the others. This is fine. All is fair in social networking. The thing to remember is that each of them bring something new to the table. Something interesting, and sometimes, something world changing. It is an age-old truth that competition brings innovation, and so far, we have fared well from said innovation.
Google+ will be very successful, but that doesn't mean anyone has to die. It will not kill Facebook, or Twitter. It will be something on its own. On the subject of needing it, well, as far as I am concurred the evolution of ideas is a necessary and important part of our times. We need Google+ to keep Facebook and Twitter on their toes. I would expect to see a series of responses from both of these networks in the coming months. Look out for new features and announcements soon. For the users, many of these changes may sound insignificant, but they will be improving our experience and the tools in our arsenal.
One major improvement in Google+ is the prominence of brands and businesses. Up until now, businesses have been foreign objects in social networks, but Google appears to be changing that. They are already taking preregistrations for business plus profiles. If you are interested in the impact of Google+ on businesses and brands, you can read my run-down here.
The Answer is +
So, I say hooray for Google+. I have my account, and Todaymade has a temporary one until the business profiles officially launch. The full implications of plus and its competitors is unknown at this time, but for now, it is all a good thing if you ask me.