Google+ the cornerstone of social networks close

Karine Tonson la Tour
Karine Tonson la Tour
In Codegent News, Musings
21st July 2011
Google+ the cornerstone of social networks

Since Google+ was unveiled on June 28th 2011, its propagation has known no boundaries. It’s everywhere - on the internet, on mobile, on tablets - has attracted 18 million users in less than a month and a billion shares per day. People are begging for invitations, a tactic that increased interest dramatically, just as it worked for Facebook’s launch.

With "+1" popping up everywhere, it looks like it soon will be naturally integrated into the landscape. We’re discovering exactly what it offers and are clicking everywhere like thrilled kids in front of a smart new toy, ready to compare and dissect. But we must face it…

It’s the same, but slightly different

Google + is the social networking side of Google and has many traits that we are familiar with from other social networks.

First, it allows you to rate webpages and share them with your contacts like Stumble Upon. Sites recommended by your friends will have a lot more value and will make your browsing easier and safer.

Second, you can chat on Google+ and have video conferences like on Skype. You can also leave messages, share pictures, albums, videos and links like on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are on the go, you can check-in and be joined by your friends as per Foursquare. You could even turn your Google+ feed into a blog, not far from what Tumblr offers.

You start to notice that Google+ has borrowed pieces of everything and mixed them together. This is networking made easy because it’s all on the same platform and this is how it's different.

A friend of mine used to complain about how much work she had to put into her social networking life. Updating her news on Twitter and Facebook, writing articles for her blog, adding pictures on Instagram, it’s a real workout considering she is also a busy young mother.

Google+ gives you an easier life. The all-in-one package rather than needing to download applications, register, familiarise yourself and post across multiple networks, wasting time that could be spent at a good gig enjoying life.

The plus of Google+

Not only is Google+ combining many networks, it also brings all your contacts together. AH! At last. Drag and drop your contacts into organised ‘circles’ to avoid an embarrassing post meant for your friends being read by your boss, and instead of running between Facebook (friendship orientated) to Twitter (work and acquaintance related) all you have to do is select a circle before posting. You have your family circle, your work circle and any more you want in order to be extra accurate when posting: "Geeks", "BFF", "Band of ducks"… be creative!

More seriously, this circle concept is particularly interesting when working on team projects. Imagine being able to create a Project Team circle that everybody can join without having to download anything. Members can share ideas, pictures, videos and comments on this platform and make your project progress faster. Easy.

In the past, we’ve had clients thrilled by the idea of putting social media icons all over the place. Well now, one will be enough: Google +. However it does raise the question will the two main social networks, Twitter and Facebook, survive?

The interface of Google+ looks like an improved version of Facebook with even more features. I believe people will choose simplicity and shift to Google+ unless Facebook comes up with a brilliant idea. It would be time for them indeed: studies have revealed that people are closing their Facebook accounts, tired of it and its privacy issues.

On the Twitter side, the concept of tweeting small and quick notes is not clearly present on Google+, but it does give you the ability to follow someone who is not following you and allows you to express yourself without the 140 characters restriction.

Google+ has taken the best of both Facebook and Twitter, improved them and left the inconveniences on the side. The Huddle to chat with everyone and receive push notifications to keep the conversion alive is brilliant, the multi-face video chat gives everybody a presence and invites people to talk and exchange, the capacity of Google+ to provide analytics of your profile page is more than interesting from a business perspective, the smartphone app is clear, smart and ergonomic and eventually, you'll click on "sparks" to check the latest news organised by theme.

Trends show that the use of Google Mail is falling as everybody uses the Facebook message tool instead. Well, we can safely say that Google is making an attempt to inverse the trend with Google+. A massive attempt.

There is no + without - 

Google+ brings together all we ever wanted, plus what we didn't know we wanted. It’s exceeded expectations and is a huge step forward for Google. Soon enough it will be one of the most used social networks as it's based on the empire of Google and these sorts of things help.

The dark side of having an all-in-one platform launched from the top of Google is that it will increase the supremacy of Google massively. Why is that so wrong? Well, history has proven that when there is one person leading without equal competitors their attitude changes from helping to using. See Facebook and their privacy deficiency as an example.

The fact that the success of Google+ is massively due to its parent Google doesn't seem to be fair for all the other social networks which have built themselves with blood, sweat and tears. They will be overtaken by somebody using their ideas. Yes, Google+ took other social networks' ideas and brought them together and this is called plagiarism. Google+ plagiarises Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Skype and Foursquare.

Supremacy and plagiarism are not the only minuses. My life is on my mobile and since I bought my iPhone I rarely open my laptop in my free time and do everything on the go while travelling. Excited by the Google+ site, I couldn't wait to try the app. But there was no Google+ iPhone app or this is what I thought. The app for iPhone was actually only available on the Apple website, not on iPhones app store, confusing 28% of smartphone users. This is what I call a minus.

To sum up, Google+ is a sexy project on a simple and smart interface providing an intuitive experience in a clean and ergonomic environment. It is pushing social networking forward with a more human and logic profile. However, Google+ might weaken some other social networks and use its supremacy for its own sake like eBay in the e-commerce field with its always higher fees. We also have to consider that people might get bored by the monotony of using only one social network. It’s just a supposition and only the future will tell us, but for now, give it a go: https://plus.google.com/up/start/.