Saturday, December 3, 2011

Top 5 Reason Google+ May Fail

Twitter and Facebook rule the social network roost and have thwarted past attempts by Google, the Master of the Interwebs, to bump them.  Google publicly rolled out its newest attempt at a social network, Google+, on September 20, 2011.  So far though, it's failed to deliver for a variety of reasons--here are the top 5 (in my opinion).

5: Circles are confusing.  Google's biggest selling point for G+ is its "circles" which allow people to segregate their friends.  Inadvertantly, circles are confusing.  For example, if I add someone to a circle, I can see what they post publicly, even if they don't add me to a circle.  What if I share with the circle I added them to--will they see it even if they haven't added me?  Does that mean I could get spam from anyone who adds me to a circle even if I don't add them back?  If not, then why would I share to a circle when those people can't even see what I share?  It's all a little confusing.

4: Google may get sued by Diaspora.  Diaspora looks exactly like G+, was conceived before it, apparently designed its site before G+, but launched later.  Any litigation could harm Google+'s chances of becoming more popular.

3: It was too slow to go public.  You build a social network by getting a bunch of people right away.  Google should have automatically made everyone with a Gmail account a Google+ member, and rolled itself out right away.  If it needed to work out some kinks with a smaller group, it should have done it internally.  Rolling out slowly meant that people would join, check it out, find out there was nobody there, then leave and never come back.

2: It didn't capitalize on Facebook fatigue.  People are sick of how complicated Facebook is getting and how confusing it is every time they update and change things.  This happened around the time G+ was rolled out to the public, but Google somehow missed this opportunity and people got complacent with Facebook again.

1: No critical mass.  To build off the previous point (#3), without a critical mass of participating members, people peek in then return to Facebook where their friends are.  Without a critical mass, most of my friends won't try it, those who do won't stay, and forget about my mom and other older relatives.

Google+ is better than Facebook, but internal decisions have worked against it, and it will probably never gain enough ground on Facebook to be truly and independently viable.  The only reason I say it may fail is that Google is enormously wealthy and powerful, and because of that Google+ can't be counted out yet.  Are you on Google+?  Share your reasons why or why not below.  And don't forget to share on Facebook (or Google+, Diaspora, Twitter, etc.)...


  1. It's just way to similar to facebook. Theres nothing + about it just copied. Google should stick to their search engine and youtube... and it seems like there more towards collecting user data more than anything.

  2. I'd agree with you that G+ may not be able to match with Facebook, but so far, I don't think that it's going to fail…at least not yet. I've actually found G+ more helpful in terms of connecting with people from various industries and learn from them. Since all the social bombardment are done in Facebook, I'm left with a feed in G+ that's got more interesting content and actually read and visit.

  3. Adeline Yuboco Yeah, I think the important moment for G+ will be this weekend, when Facebook forces everybody into its new format.  If people get confused and don't like it (as always happens with even minor FB updates--and this is a BIG one), they could migrate to G+ and find a nice home.  Google should be ready to market the hell out of G+ to capitalize on this.  My sense is that they won't, the opportunity will pass, and G+ will continue its descent into obscurity.  I guess we'll see.

    @2b182ff1c04de65a5b07d1dc6f2c3e41 Yeah, Google gets criticized for its data collection on its users, and people half-jokingly worry about the day when Google decides to join the dark side.  But ultimately, I only think the G+ failure is half Google's fault.  As Adeline pointed out, there are good reasons to use G+.  The biggest hurdle is that everyone is on FB--everyone.  It's an uphill battle...

  4. By the way, it's been almost a month and out of the 700+ FB contacts and the 700+ contacts in my Gmail (and granted, there is some overlap), not a single one is on Diaspora.  Is anybody using it?

  5. Don't know why but... I don't like Google+. I have a few friends in circles but they don't use it either. Hm.