The Google+ Project: The Only Social Platform That Was Born This Way

There's a new Monster in town.

Know why Google+ is different?  It’s the first social network actually designed from the ground up to be what it’s going to be.  And it has a really big plan.

Compare & contrast:

  • Twitter?  born as a feature for a different project that went big (and is still working on the business plan).
  • Facebook?  started as a cool app for college kids that has since achieved massive scale.  Has had some very clumsy moments along the way and is constantly trying to figure out how to introduce and integrate new features.
  • LinkedIn?  began life as the online business rolodex.  Has added social integration and content sharing features over time, making it an even greater business rolodex.
  • MySpace?  A hangout for teenagers turned hook-up site turned music scene turned ad network

Google+ on the other hand was conceived from the ground up and designed (with a great deal of time and care) to be exactly what it is:  a social content sharing platform.   It’s the only platform that was truly born this way, and it shows.  It has all of the best attributes of the major platforms, while addressing many of their drawbacks.  And it has some ground-breaking new features that don’t currently exist on other platforms, such as the group video chats.

What’s also clear is that Google has big ambitions for this new service.  The fact that the Google+ bar appears across other Google services, such as Docs, Gmail, Photos (formerly Picasa) makes it an intuitive way to share and collaborate around content across these services.  If you’re logged in, the bar also appears at the top of Google’s Shopping, or Product Search, pages–imagine the shared product review and ecommerce possiblities down the line.  (Hello, eBay and Amazon!)  Some have even gone so far as to say that Google+ has the potential to become the single communication and collaboration platform, replacing what we today know as email, RSS, blogging, texting, chat and social networking with one unified platform.  (Sounds kind of nice, right?)

So while I agree with Danny Brown Doug Haslam* that we all need to be patient and see what happens over time as Google continues to broaden the user base,  I also agree with Nick O’Neill that, given its existing user base across its various services, Google has some incredible advantages over the other platforms.

For now, I’m simply enjoying myself exploring the simple, clean user interface, playing with new ways to define circles of trust and uncovering new features.   Like many of you, I’m wrestling with how to best divide my energy between all of the different platforms, building a presence on G+ while keeping up with existing communities on Twitter and Facebook.  But I am looking forward to spending more time on Google Plus, cause, baby, it was born to be something very big and very interesting.

*with apologies to both Danny and Doug for the error! – Tonia

  • Brilliant analysis, Tonia. You had me at the Compare and Contrast 4 bullet points!

    • Tonia Ries

      thanks for the comment, Lisa! (Bullet points rock.)

  • Good points Tonia. Now here’s my question, thinking most specifically of Twitter. Everything that’s great about Twitter is an outgrowth of users. The @, the hashtag… And I think you’re spot on in terms of G+ being built to be what it is. But … what if we users start making G+ something else? Will Google roll with it? Will they try and hold to THEIR idea, rather than the users’?

    Keep in mind that the telephone was supposed to be an assistive device for deaf-mute people.

    • Tonia Ries

      That is a great question (and an area where both Twitter and Facebook have fallen short). For myself, I’m willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt here, since I feel that they have a good track record in this regard. They have made some missteps along the way but have been quick to retract or change based on user input. Coincidentally, I read a review in today’s WSJ of a book by a former Google marketeer in which he writes that the company’s focus on customer satisfaction was “uncompromising.” (Near bottom of review – I’m looking forward to watching this develop over the next year.

  • Praveen Verma

    Worst review I have ever read.

    • Tonia Ries

      ok. It wasn’t really meant to be a review… Do you disagree with the post? what do you think of Google Plus?

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