A little over a year ago, I wrote a post called “Google+: Why this might just stick”. I wrote this post very soon after Goolge+ (G+) made its debut into the social networking world. Re-reading the post, I’m reminded of how excited I was when G+ entered the scene and how, over a year later, I’m pretty unenthused with the product overall. So here’s my review of G+, a year later: the good, the bad and the ugly.
People DO use it
Despite the multiple reports that G+ is a ghost town, there are many users who swear by it. They love the service and use it as their primary social platform. On a personal level, I rarely use it and find it cumbersome, but I can appreciate those who like and use it often. It’s not for everyone, but from what I’ve seen, those who do use it, LOVE it.
Great for startups
One of the unique features of G+ is “hangouts”, where users can have a video group chat with up to 10 people. This is something that is great for startups that have just a few members, but who may also be scattered around the country. This way you can have “face-to-face” meetings to better connect with your coworkers.
This may not be something that the everyday G+ user cares about, but as a marketer, the fact that my business page doesn’t have an easy-to-remember URL is very irksome to me- especially since this is not a new concept, other platforms have had this for quite some time now.
Though I think G+ has an easy to use interface, I still find it cumbersome. I have to start my friends from scratch and then decide what circle I want to put them in. Yes, this may be laziness on my part, but if I already have everything set up in Facebook, why do I need to do it again?
G+ is said to have 250 million users and 75 daily active users, but there is one glaring problem with those numbers that Google usually stays mum about. When I log into my Google account, I’m automatically logged into my G+ account – but what if I’m just using my Google account to check my Gmail or use Google Docs? Google doesn’t seem to be too transparent on differentiating their Google account numbers from G+ numbers, which makes their stats much less creditable.
It’s not a social network
Wait, what? That’s what I thought when I heard that Google’s senior vice president of social business, Vic Gundotra told Mashable at the recent Google I/O developer conference. In the article, Gundotra says that people keep comparing G+ to Facebook and other social networks when it is in fact, in Google’s eyes, just a social layer on top of the whole Google experience. While I understand where they’re coming from and think that that makes more sense than trying to be a Facebook competitor, if it quacks like a duck…
Overall, I would not say that G+ is a success, but I would not call it a failure either. While it hasn’t turned out to be the Facebook competitor like I had originally hoped, I do think it serves as a great alternative for those who no longer find Facebook relevant for their socializing needs. For now, however, I’ll stick with Facebook.