By Rodney Brazeau
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Google made a brave effort as the potential Facebook Killer with its own social media website Google+. The complete lack of anything ending in “ville” does make me want to jump to that service, but it seems that despite its initial signup of 90 million people, Google+ is not really killing anything.
It isn’t killing time, and it sure isn’t killing Facebook. Its not even giving Facebook an irritating cold sore.
Visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period, according to comScore, which didn’t have data on mobile usage.
Facebook currently has 845million users. Granted it has been a while since Facebook opened its doors, and it earned its place in the social network hierarchy.
Facebook grew to this unstoppable giant on the flippant failure of other social network giants like Friendster and the still-struggling-to-be-relevant MySpace. While those services were once popular, Facebook is the clear winner here. By “winner” I mean that while everyone else was trying to invent the better social network, Facebook still manages to keep their user base. Every time one of these social networks failed, it was because someone else did something more appealing and everyone started using that instead. Google+ attempted to be better and in many technical ways it is. However, despite its massive early adoption, people just are not continuing to use Google+.
Now Google is always inventive and seems to be unable to do anything wrong, so why can’t Google+ trump Facebook? They are always introducing new features and new tools from a seemingly bottomless pit of ideas. Google+ is not a bad idea or a bad product, but the problem is that Facebook already did that idea. Google+ offers a clean interface with many excellent features that Facebook doesn’t have (friendlist video conferencing for example) without all that clutter of nonsensical app-based games and annoying ads.
But guess what Google+ doesn’t have. Your friends.
That’s right. This is the ultimate failure of Google+. People are not using it. It has nothing to do with its features and everything to do with population. There is a significant number of people registered on their service, but it’s not registered accounts that matter. It is how often those users actually use the site. Google+ doesn’t even have as many daily visitors as MySpace has. MySpace is considered past tense in the Social Networking world and it still has more interaction and visitors than Google+.
And here’s the kicker:
You know all those changes they make that just get everyone SO MAD that they have to chirp about it on their status updates? Or how they carry on repeatedly about how they hate these changes? This only helps Facebook maintain relevance in this market. I guarantee you that each and every one of those changes are honestly crafted by the people at Facebook with the improvement of the site in mind. Opinions vary on the effectiveness of these changes, but the service is evolving with its users. If they DIDN’T make changes a cutting edge service like Google+ may be what everyone is using next.
But people complain about these things in their status and hope for their friends to validate their grievances. This only further perpetuates the effectiveness of social networking!
We use social networking to connect, and to connect you need connections. If you don’t have an audience on Google+ then there is no connection. No network.
There may come a day when people say “Remember Facebook” like we now say “Remember Friendster?” but sadly, that day isn’t today, and it isn’t Google+ that is doing it.
I don’t know anyone with a Google+ account that doesn’t still use Facebook. I have a Google+ account and the ONLY people in my list there are also in my list on Facebook.
The only two people I know that have “given up” on Facebook entirely are using apps that will populate their Facebook accounts with their Google+ status updates and links. I think more than anything, this proves my point.
Sorry Google. We love you a whole lot, but the party was already happening at Facebook’s house when you sent your invite. All my friends (and vague acquaintances) are already here.