One of the effects of Google+’s controlled roll out, primarily to tech geeks and Social Media nerds, was an avalanche of “Google+ will be a (fill in the blank) killer” posts. Twitter – dead! Facebook – dead! Twitter and Facebook – dead! I’ve tried to hold off on such pronouncements because, A) that’s the easy way out, and B) nobody knows what effects exactly Google+ is going to have on the online media habits of millions of people. Let’s not forget, while 10 million users in just a couple of weeks is impressive, it’s still a relatively small sample size.
Others have looked to dissect Google+, such as Ben Kunz, writing for Businessweek.com, who hailed Google+ for its lack of game mechanics (a point which I, and others, disagreed with in the comments section). Tom Moradpour went the linkbait route with his Five Fatal Flaws of Google+ post. Personally, I think it’s a bit premature to call them fatal flaws because we don’t have enough data to say they will ultimately derail the platform, and nothing is a fatal flaw when you’re always in beta mode. I’m sure Google will make the necessary adjustments if they see problems and hear from users. Jason Falls, a voice of sanity in all this reminds us all to calm down and keep things in perspective regarding Google+.
Rather than examine Google+ on the micro level, my thoughts lean towards the macro. Personal preference will determine whether you like Google+ more than Twitter, but when you pull out and look at the larger picture, the advantages of Google (not Google+) seem to be mounting and I’m not sure I can see someone else there who can bring the social firepower to the table to challenge Google.
While I think Google+ is a fine platform I find myself gravitating towards it because of the little red box in the upper right-hand corner. I see it on Google+, I see it in Gmail, I see it in Google News (which has just added some intriguiging game mechanics) and I wouldn’t be surpised if I see it on YouTube in the near future. Google is going to own my online experience not because all their offerings are superior – though they are all of a very high quality – they are going to own my online experience because they offer me a connected experience of very high quality offerings.
Take a look at this terrific photo essay from Vincent Wong in which he describes What G+ is Really About. According to Vincent, Google+ isn’t so much a threat to Facebook or Twitter (at least not right now) as it is a threat to Microsoft and even Apple because of what Google is building. The breadth of the platforms, especially when you include Android, makes Google a nearly unavoidable part of just about everyone’s life.