This video from The Jimmy Fallon Show does a great job of explaining the mass hysteria around Google+:
It’s funny, but Seth Green is spot on. Others, more qualified than I, have already ripped the invite policy, so I won’t go there. We also have a large group of misguided people who are proclaiming Google+ a Facebook killer or a twitter killer or a something else killer. To those pundits, I say, you are missing the point.
I resisted the urge to publish a post on Google+ right after it came out, unlike many others. When I first joined there just wasn’t enough people using it to get a fair read. To be honest with you, there still isn’t enough people, or maybe a better way to say it, is enough of the right people using it to make a fair evaluation. With that in mind here’s 5 thoughts I have:
- Google+ gets a lot right. As I wrote on Google+, “Circles seem like the key. The ability to segment your entire circle of connections into sub-circles is a game changer and honestly, aligned better with user behavior. We don’t want to share the same way with a long-time friend, co-worker, former colleague or family member.” That’s really the killer function and it shows that Google truly understands user behavior. But, it’s also something that Facebook could very easily replicate. So how long will it really be a point of differentiation?
- The integration of Google+ into all other Google products (gmail, calendar, etc.) was the smartest decision they made. Instead of Google+ becoming a separate destination it can now act as something that ties across all the Google products you’re already using. Facebook can’t even start to compete here.
- The lack of a mobile app for the iPhone and Blackberry (yes, I know the Blackberry is dying a slow death) is hurting the ability for Google+ to scale. With more than 40% of Facebook users using Facebook via mobile devices and similar behavior (mobile, mobile, mobile) for other social networks, Google wasn’t thinking forward enough here. As a sample size of 1 I can tell you my Google+ usage is nowhere near as high as it would be if I could be connected to it on the go. Big miss here that I know they’ll correct, but it needs to be said. The success of failure of Google+ will be tied directly to how strong and simple the mobile experience is.
- Google+ isn’t a replacement for twitter or Facebook. But, it is something that will redirect and shift where we spend our time. That’s why #2 is so important. We already search for things, email, watch videos on youTube, scheduled events, etc. With Google+ being integrated across all Google products, Google has found a way for us to “multi-task” with Google+ while we’re doing something else powered by Google. Time is finite, the integration approach is one way to gain more of it. What else will they do to keep us plugged in?
- This is the most important thought, what problem does Google+ solve? I still don’t know. Sure, it’s nice. It’s simple. It has great features like Circles and Huddle. But, if you are already on Facebook, if you are already on twitter, if you don’t social network at all, what does Google+ provide that makes your life better, simpler, easier, more enjoyable, etc.? The best products, the best ideas, the best platforms…the ones that succeed, SOLVE a problem. What does Google+ solve?