The Tuesday theme (for now) will be technology. Today I’m going to share my thoughts on Google+, the Google social network.
I joined Google+ early on, after an invite from a high school friend who is now working at Google. I was excited at first and definitely loved the concept of “circles.” For those who aren’t yet familiar with Google+, one great distinguishing feature about it is the ability to limit the audience who will see your posts or photos. For example, if I wanted to post photos from a crazy party I attended over the weekend, I could limit the audience so my coworker circle and my family circle weren’t able to see that particular album. I could also limit the views for a status update, in case I wanted to invite a few folks to a concert, but I didn’t want to let that strange, clingy friend know we were hanging out without her. 😉
But even with that great feature, I feel like all Facebook would need to do to retain their current user base and position on top of the social media world would be to implement a similar option on their site. They have the ability to create lists, but the process is not nearly as intuitive as Google+ circles.
I was optimistic for Google+ at first, mainly because I don’t like to see any company hold a monopoly on anything. I was also sick of seeing the encroaching ads that seems to be consuming the Facebook pages lately. However, I honestly don’t think that Google+ offers enough distinctive differences that would compel the bulk of Facebook users, from college kids to boomers and grandparents, to start all over on a new network. They’d have to search for family and friends that they were already connected to over on Facebook. They’d have to start new photo albums (unless they had also been using Picasa). For most of the people I know, that’s just more work they’re willing to put into the transition right now.
However, it is not like this hasn’t happened before. Before Facebook was MySpace. Before Myspace, Friendster. The shift could happen. But it will be much slower than many are anticipating. While many of my friends were excited to be among the first to enter the secret Google+ club before invites went out to the masses, they don’t seem to be staying or playing there. When I filter my feeds to only see posts from people I genuinely consider to be “friends,” there is only one post available to view and it’s from at least two weeks ago.
While I may come back to see what the tech folks are chatting about, if my friends aren’t there, I am not likely to spend a ton of time there, either.