The tech media has been all over the rapid growth of Google’s social network Google Plus. Many have assumed that this rapid rise means that Google Plus is on it’s way to be a serious competitor Facebook and Twitter.
After my usage of Google Plus so far both sharing and reading, it’s definitely a solid product that does some things better and some things worse than other social tools.
However, I’ve yet to feel like it’s on it’s way to truly competing with Facebook or Twitter.
I think the graph above has been caused by the following:
- Familiarity with Social Networking – A larger number of people are now familiar with social networking than when Facebook and Twitter launched. They also have more friends and are more connected making it easier to hear about a new social network and decide to go try it out.
- A Desire For An Alternative – While Facebook and Twitter are massively used, there are a large number of users who don’t love them as products themselves and have the desire for an alternative. Google Plus is really the first serious alternative to launch.
- Google “Install” Base – So many people already have Google accounts and use Gmail, that it made it super easy to explose Google Plus to users as well as make it easy to intelligently recommend Gmail contacts to invite.
Will Google Plus Keep Growing?
Google Plus was reviewed well by the tech media, and it feels pretty good as a product. However, after a few weeks now I’ve got over a 100 people in my “circles” but the only activity I’m seeing is from about 5-10 people who all have jobs as part of the tech media.
There is literally NO activity from most of my normal friends, many of whom are on the cutting edge of technology and are heavy social network users.
Why is this? I’ve asked a few of them, and the answers tend to be that they don’t know why they should use Google Plus instead of Facebook or Twitter. Their friends aren’t fully there yet, they don’t really feel the need to organize them into circles, and Facebook and Twitter just do a good enough job.
Google’s going to need to do something to differentiate Google Plus even more from those competitors and do something SIGNIFICANTLY better than the competition in order to get people to spend more time there.
It’s definitely possible, but it’s a tough task that won’t be as easy as the initial spike of growth in the graph above.