Google Adds More Social

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It has been a busy week for Google, with a social network, some cool search tools, a new look for their pages, author attribution in search and a labs project for converting flash to HTML5 have all been announced one way or another. Unsurprisingly, it is their launch of Google+ that has received the most attention.

Google+ Project

Reading through the features list, nothing stands out as revolutionary, but that’s OK, because this does not actually matter. Google+ seems to be aimed at refining tools and features that already exist in other networks. +Circles appear to mirror Diaspora’s Aspects (you add people by dragging and dropping on both too), topic-focused groups will be called +Sparks, and +Hangouts look interesting, almost like a video IRC channel. +Mobile and +Huddle look like the real point of difference for Google+ in a market dominated by Facebook. A better mobile experience and well-executed group messaging are both areas in which Google+ can sidestep their competition.

Google’s “mobile first” approach is potentially Google+’s best chance of success, and their love affair with web-based applications will probably be seen in a polished browser-based product. However Google+’s biggest problem in gaining engaged users is other networks. The more connected a user is in an existing social network, the higher the cost of switching to a new platform.

Jumping on the Social Bandwagon

Joining the Social Bandwagon

This does not mean that Google+ and its range of services can’t become someone’s ‘as well as’ rather than ‘instead of’. Facebook’s galleries didn’t stop people from using Instagram, and Twitter seems to be doing OK even though Facebook has the Wall. A solid mobile experience providing services Facebook either doesn’t offer or doesn’t do very well, like mobile sharing and group messaging, is Google+’s biggest opportunity.

Google+ isn’t likely to become 750 million people’s primary social network anytime soon, but there is a good chance that if it delivers something genuinely useful it’ll become one of the many other social tools we use. Google+ won’t replace Facebook, but this doesn’t automatically mean it will fail either. After all, how many people use just one social network?

2 responses to “Google Adds More Social”

  1. […] CV Find me: ← Google Adds More Social […]

  2. […] mobile experience is awesome on both mobile web and the Android app (which I love). Google+ has a number of other features, the most talked about being their desktop video feature called Hangouts, and mobile group […]

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