10 Reasons Why Google’s Social Network May Fail (Again)
I have been playing with Google Plus for about a week and read many comments and discussions about it. I also posted some comments myself. I believe there are a few reasons why Google+ may fail, and I am really concerned about privacy:
1- Google Plus’ beta testing is lasting for too long. Invites do not really work and you also have to consider the frustration of those who get an email from the system – after their friends shared something- and still cannot get in. It’s been open since a week already for beta. It’s Google.. isn’t a week too long?
2- It does look like too much like Facebook, yet not behaving like that (it’s more like a mix between Facebook and Twitter), and it’s far more complicated than Facebook.
3- No iPhone app available yet. The choice of launching such a global service before an iPhone app was ready has not been a good choice. You cannot ignore 40M users (this is the number of daily users of the Facebook for iPhone app, according to Facebook’s data). We are in the mobile era. A good thing would have been maybe to open G+ in preview to Android users only.
5- Google’s apps are not integrated with G+, while they are almost all integrated into the black navigation bar – too bad you get G+ notifications, but you don’t get those from Gmail or other apps. So what’s the point of having them all? Just for their use maybe?
6- It took over 5 years for Facebook to become what it is today. We go there because all our friends are there. We are used to it. Like it or not, I think it’s absolutely useful and cool. It cannot take just a few weeks or months for G+ to beat it.
7- Facebook is what it is because users wanted it. G+ is pushing its own Facebook because they want it.
8- G+ didn’t tell us why we should move to G+. We know why of course, but I mean they did not provide us with a good reason for it.
9- It looks like it’s been created for users that are younger than those who spend the majority of time on Facebook (over 35). Younger generations do not spend a lot of money on websites and not a lot of time on brands pages, interacting with them, unless they are related to music and fun. And there’s no music app on Google.
10- And, more important: It will not take long to realize how seriously we should worry about our privacy. Consider how bad is having Google gathering too much information about us: they already know our search habits and what we are looking for (they are the most used search engine), they know our browsing habits (don’t forget they have Google Analytics for a large majority of WW websites!) and they know our company’s website analytics and our banners performance (who clicks on our banners), and they host our office documents, they host our Gmail emails (those we use to register to all newsletters and websites, hence they know what happens to open rate and click through), and so on. They just missed a piece: how we get there, who are we influenced by and who we can influence. Now, with Circles, they will know this. How much will this mean in terms of advertising and marketing dollars? In the meantime, Facebook is protecting our privacy against Google’s attacks.
Great post – I think the privacy factor is key as you say. The public would rather spread their info around between Facebook and Google rather than give it all up to one of them.
Thank you for your comment. I wonder why nobody talks about privacy on google, after all the noise about Facebook privacy issues. It must be that adverti$ing factor..
What is even creepier is that they take a screenshot if you send them feedback. One of my friends and I just didn’t end up sending them feedback at all because of that. They didn’t only take a screenshot as part of the report. They also put a whole lot about your computer in it. Creepy. We both decided not to go through with sending the reports. Good thing we clicked on “preview” first, otherwise we might have never learned this.
I think G+ privacy will be a big turn off for people who want to remain private on the plus side the interface seems fresh and clean – people may join the new kid on the block, to check out his party but not totally leave face book.
I am very happy my facebook privacy is set to have my name not appearing on search engines (I cannot prevent others with same name/last name to appear tho). I want my professional life to be exposed, not my personal one. When I first used G+, my first result – when searching for my name- was the first. Quite weird for a beta test. I asked Google to immediately take it off, since there was no way to set my privacy on my profile picture. Now they have taken it down while developing. Then they have announced all profiles will be open – no privacy chance!!- starting July 31st. The bad news is that too many social network users are not so expert to understand their private comments and pictures and posts will be visible to everybody, also outside of the social network.
The interface is fresh and clean since there are no ads, still. We all know it’s not going to last forever.
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Great post, thanks for sharing! Your points are very interesting and I agree with most of them points, excluding:
“It took over 5 years for Facebook to become what it is today. We go there because all our friends are there. We are used to it. Like it or not, I think it’s absolutely useful and cool. It cannot take just a few weeks or months for G+ to beat it.”
True, it will not take a month, but that does not mean that Facebook is safe. Think of India, where Orkut was the leader in social networking and Facebook overtook halfway through 2010 and is now the leader. If you have a better product, you can win even if you’re initially behind. I’m not saying that G+ is necessarily better, I’m saying that the match is not closed yet. It depends on how the two giants play their game.
More details in my last blog post: http://nettedthoughts.wordpress.com/
Thanks for your comment NT (I see you’re Italian as well!)
The fact that Orkut has lost is top of the list (both in India and Brasil) tells us a bigger community kills local communities… (like the supermarkets killed the local grceries in the 80s). It’s the market rule. Nothing new, ppl go where they can find more and all in a place, rather than going from a place to another..
It may take a while… or it may just fail. We’ll see!
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