The Google+ Hype

by Ken Mueller on July 16, 2011 · 14 comments

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Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

This guest post is from Brian Meeks. He has delusions of novelist, which he feeds by writing the Henry Wood Detective series (Available soon and on his blahg). Like many of us, Brian has been playing around with Google Plus, and while I’m still not sold on it, he has some great insights to offer.

The difference is subtle. A week ago Google launched Google Plus, heretofore referred to as G+, as a competitor to FB and Twitter. I was thrilled to get in on day one and started to help those who wanted a crack. After a week, I have several observations, and will share one of them with you now.

As with all new stuff, there is hype, and I mean “What if Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus got married and had children, with fabulous hair?” hype. I am talking “Jersey Shore” meets Sarah Palin, while hanging out at an Obama fundraiser, in Central Park, during a Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert. In truth, I may be understating the Google Plus hype.

The 1st question hyped, “Will G+ be the death of FB and Twitter?”

Google search, once it became a verb, was the death of AOL and Yahoo search. I mean, when was the last time you said, “I don’t have a list of root vegetables handy, let me go AOL it,” and then used their search. Do they even have search anymore? I honestly don’t know. Google has the skill, resources, and cleverness to put a serious hurt on FB, in my humble opinion. They have cleverly waited to find out what people don’t like about FB and now will do it better. Or one would hope.

There have already been articles surfacing that Google may equal FB in their Terms of Service privacy evilness. If they don’t do a better job of NOT claiming they own ALL the content, they may just become another Social Media player, in a crowded marketplace. It has only been a week, so it is hard to tell, but I would put the odds at 3:2 in favor of Google winning the battle and choosing not to be evil.

There is one aspect of G+ that I already like and that is the Twitter community feel. For the most part, FB has a “Real World Friend” community feel. The vast majority of people on FB, at present, are people who use it to stay connected with their friends (The ones they have known for years, since before the days of social media). Twitter is a world where people make new friends. Of this new circle of friends, most have not met in person, which is fine. We learn about each other’s successes and triumphs, just as we would with our “real world” friends, but we don’t hang out at tail gates with them. They are no less important and if one of our Twitter friends becomes seriously ill, we still worry. The big difference is that the Twitter friends are more accessible.

That may seem strange, but it’s true. Real World friends have children who need feeding; they have stuff going on, which makes interrupting with a phone call at 3 AM, an unreasonable option. On Twitter, they have kids too, but if they are in front of their computers, then it isn’t a problem to say, “Hello, How are you today? on a scale of 1 to 37″. If they can chat, they will, if they can’t, it is understood that there is something else going on. There isn’t ever the fear of interrupting, because the interactions are never compulsory.

That is the beauty of text based communication. The conversation just hangs around until it is convenient to respond. Facebook doesn’t quite have that spirited conversation feel that Twitter #chats often do. But with Twitter #chats, one is limited to 140 characters. So G+ has created the space for chatting with “Twitteresque Friends”, while allowing for capacity to make the case for bacon being the king of breakfast foods.

This leads me to predict, with my usual 37% accuracy, that over time, G+ will capture the hearts and minds of FB folks, but it will not remove Twitter from our lives. Twitter is just too good at spreading information, to ever go away. It is quick and concise and there is value in having such a platform.

So give Google + a try. You might like it.

 

 

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