Over the past two weeks as I’ve had a chance to play around with Google+ and really had a great experience. Who knew Google could do social and do it so well? Guess they learned from the Buzz/Wave disasters and seem to be on to something this time.
Unfortunately probably the most important ingredient to having a great experience with a social network is the ability to find and connect with the people you want to interact with. As a result, I’ve spent two weeks now struggling to get friends and family to setup their own Google+ accounts and was met with a surprising amount of resistance. “Why not just stick with Facebook” they ask? “Where is the value?” “Where is my Farmville and other games?” When I stepped back to look at it from the average person’s perspective I can see their point, why should someone bother setting up a Google+ account?
Why Switch From Facebook to Google+?
First and foremost, I need to point out that you don’t need to “switch” to Google+ unless you want to. Signing up for Google+ doesn’t do or change anything with your Facebook profile so there really is no down side. Secondly, Facebook needs competition and Google is one of only a couple of companies (if not the only one) who could seriously compete with Facebook. Competition brings innovation and their are plenty of examples out there of situations where there wasn’t competition and as a result there wasn’t innovation (Internet Explorer 6 jumps to mind). Besides, the more successful the initial launch of Google+ is, the more likely Google is to continue to place their valuable engineer resources into improving this product and making it a true competitor to Facebook.
Am I pro Google+ or just anti-Facebook?
This is something I’ve put a lot of thought into over the past two weeks and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a little bit of both. I truly love the innovation put into Google+ with the hangouts, circles, and even the sparks feature has some potential. With that said, I admit to being more scared of where the Internet is heading with the growing dominance of Facebook and I think the internet needs to support a competitor.