Google+ Envy? Or Are You the More Cautious Type?

Google+ Envy? Or Are You the More Cautious Type? | 40Tech

Google+ is all the rage among the tech-geeks of the world right now. It’s the tech geek — and social geek — media equivalent of a major presidential upset or natural disaster. And with a new Google product, it could end up being either. It really depends on your level of cynicism when it comes to Google launches. Their efforts in the social tech space, while fantastic from the innovation perspective, have fallen flat repeatedly when it comes to adoption. And when I say flat, I mean a fall from a tall, tall building that ends with something reminiscent of a pancake. Or a crêpe.

So I’m curious: where do you stand on the Google+ front?

For me, I’m definitely interested and excited to try it out if and when it ever gets to me. However, I’m more than a bit cautious when it comes to the “Google+ will change social media and business as we know it” spiel. Sure, it’s possible that Google may kill, or at least finally be able to compete with Facebook and Twitter, but we’ve heard all of that before. Hello Google Buzz — and damn you Google Wave.

Frankly, I’m a bit tired of tech media spinning new products like this out of proportion. I’m tired of hearing about unproven products that are destined to kill proven products, especially when the creator has a poor track record of success and their only real merit is that the creator is a tech giant. What has been proven, time and again, is that — if you’ll excuse the age-old, multi-layered saying — size doesn’t matter.

So, what do you think? With the failures of Google Wave, Buzz, Orkut and Sidewiki drag Google down yet again? Is Google+ as amazing as it sounds? Even if it is, do you think it has a prayer of taking on Facebook and/or Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.

23 Comments:

  1. What do I think? I think I’m annoyed they haven’t released it yet for Google Apps!

  2. All i know is there are more and more buttons i have to add on my website, and there are less and less reasons for me to do it.
    I also doubt Google will be able to make a kill with this, but i do hope they’ll give Facebook some well deserved competition, they’ve been having it too lightly in the past years.

    • Definitely, Martin. Facebook has had it easy this last bit. Competition is good. Of course, it probably will need to have some sort of Facebook/Twitter integration to really get the adoption happening on a grand scale…

    • I agree. If anything, I’m trying to reduce, not increase, the number of social networks I have to monitor, so unless there’s a compelling reason (i.e. large number of friends using it exclusively) I won’t be signing up anytime soon.

      • I think that’s going t be their main challenge, Nina. How to keep people if they don’t want another network. Facebook did it to MySpace, but MySpace didn’t have anywhere near the level of general user adoption across age groups and all walks of life.

        Twitter managed to carve out it’s own space, but mainly that was due to its straightforward approach, the number of tools that cropped up to integrate it, and the business possibilities that were widely advertised — not to mention the realtime and bite-sized communication aspect of it in times of disaster and political strife. Twitter is still a hard sell to many people though, and was actually around for quite a while before it moved beyond the tech geeks.

        If Google+ can bridge the gap though, as well as make something better…

      • I think you hit on a key point, Bobby.

        “general user adoption across age groups and all walks of life”

        It’s not the tech savvy that are going to decide the future of facebook – it’s the hundreds of millions of people who have gained a comfort level with it and don’t want to jump to a competitor simply because of things like “better security” and “more features”.

        The truth of the matter is this … as long as Facebook has my friends, they have me.

      • And ther’s pretty much the rub, Kosmo. Google+ needs to have people come over in droves. It could happen, but Facebook is a bit of a phenomena, really. Who knows, maybe Google has a long term plan with this one that will slowly coax people over. I’m sure they plan to leverage their widespread phone/tablet base at some point, with OS level integrations and the like, which could also be interesting.

      • Thing is, i don’t see what Google+ has to offer that Facebook doesn’t have already. If people will move they need a strong reason, not just that it’s Google.

      • I finally got an invitation today, and I have to say that I like it. The free and unlimited Picasa uploads are a solid bonus too.

        You are right though, Martin. They’ve got their work cut out for them. Their biggest asset though, over the long haul, will be their huge range of smartphones and tablets out there — especially if they install the service at the browser level.

  3. With Facebook having at best a casual attitude toward privacy, I like the thought of a network that puts user control front and center. Having said that, I haven’t seen Plus yet, so I’ll reserve judgment. From the outside looking in, the big difference between Plus and previous offerings (Wave and Buzz in particular) is that I’ve heard uniformly glowing reviews, and downright excitement, from some of the same people who panned Buzz and Wave.

    Google better move fast on this, though, while the buzz is high. I think with Wave, some people lost interest after not getting in for a while.

    • I agree, Evan, that waiting too long could kill them. Already there are some annoyed people out there — even some of the people who received invites have to wait as they are over capacity. That reminds me of Wave for certain.

      It is nice to see that the reviews have been all positive. That, along with Google’s new pretty design initiative gives me hope.

      As for the privacy thing, I’ll need to take a look at the policy when the service goes live. Google’s privacy policies in the past have been pretty loose. That said, and fun government/evil organization conspiracy theories aside, I still use a ton of their services…

  4. It wont kill Facebook, but it will co-exist I think. They got it right enough this time not to immediately fizzle out, but I don’t see Facebook going anywhere anytime soon.

    I just want my invite!!!!

  5. Like Kosmo said above, Facebook has my friends and family … my family was just out for a visit and I noted how connected my whole family stayed (although we all live in different states) via facebook and how much they played games together and challenged each other on facebook.

    Unless I’m missing something … Google+ can’t compete on the gaming level.

    I’m curious to see how Google+ can integrate all Google’s business related services … that might make it more appealing to brands, small business, entrepreneurs and consumers.

    • So far, I’ve found that there is an extension out there (for Chrome) that will enable sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from Plus, an email-Twitter workaround that can be used to Tweet easily from Plus, and that there is a tool that brings your interactive Facebook stream into Plus. With things like this already out there, before Google even has a chance to do anything official — and not to mention the already integrated email functionalities — the possibilities are looking pretty spiffy in regard to Google Plus being a communications and social media home base.

      The business aspects are looking good too, especially once Google Apps gets integrated — which would only make sense for Google to do.

  6. I’ve spent a long time moving from gmail/google accounts to Google Apps for my domain. They finally transitioned my last account a couple of weeks ago giving me access to Reader from within my domain. :)

    And now I should reactivate my gmail to try this? and then go through the hoops to transfer all the circles and friends to Google Apps? Not a chance.

    I’m going to wait ’til it opens for Apps and count how many invitations I’ve received (3 so far). If it’s in double figures by then I might give it a try.

    • Sounds reasonable to me flippertie. :)

      Google had best bring apps support in fairly quickly, as it may make all the difference to business adoption. They will probably only support the paid apps folks — but that would be a mistake, I think.

  7. if you mean support as in ‘provide help for’ you’re probably right. google’s help for the existing free Apps is pretty non-existent.

    If you mean support as in ‘make G+ available to’ – I’d bet you’re wrong. People with their own domain and the free google apps (like me and your readership)are the IT evangelists who would push friends, employers and clients to adopt G+. Lock us out and they’re losing early adopters who will have a huge influence on whether this floats or sinks.

    • I meant both, and in exactly the same context. They will likely not support the free version as it integrates — and if it doesn’t integrate it will be a mistake.

  8. I’ve been on Google+ for a while now, and I have to say, it’s clean, crisp and refreshing. Unlike Facebook. It certainly is not perfect, but they have a GREAT feedback tool and are constantly updating features.

    This alone is better than facebook, because they’re actually allowing the users to determine how the site works, rather than implementing stupid new features, without telling anyone and without really testing to see if they work.

    I have a little faith that Google MAY just have done something REALLY right for a change. Although, I dont’ think Buzz was a complete flop, I use it regularly and have been waiting for some kind of integration such as google+ AND it’s essentially IS google Wave. So Buzz is making a comeback, and Wave is just the new google plus. Yeah, it didn’t work out EXACTLY how they wanted it, but it’s nice NOW.

    Cheers

    • I wouldn’t go so far as calling Google+ Wave, but with the circle, huddle, and hangout approaches combined with a tighter integration of Docs and then some 3rd party apps, I could see it getting closer. There would need to be access and archiving facilities as well.

      After playing with it the past few days, though, I agree that the potential is high for success if they can get the user adoption — and they are positioning Plus to be the Big Combiner that connects all of their tools, so they may have a good chance there as well.

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