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The One Word that Will Give Google+ an Edge over Facebook and Possibly Even a Victory

21 February 201229 comments Android, inneractive, iPhone, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Industry

By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)

Google+, the search giant’s new social network has not been getting too much love from the blogosphere lately. There is this Pandodaily post, which obviously got support from one of its writers and friends, MG Siegler in this post, and even the pro Google blogger Danny Sullivan had some negative words to say.

To sum up all the hating, many people are bothered by the fact that Google is taking advantage of its strong position on the Web to promote its own service. Google recently released Search Plus your World, which displays Google+ results before organic search results. The company also added a Share option to the search page. This bothers a lot of people.

Let me get this straight. Google is offering you the world’s most advanced suite of Web applications including its search engine, Gmail, Google Calendar, Chrome, and on and on. They are giving it to you for free. No hidden costs. They are giving you a seamless and infinite backup of all your media with Google+ and they are even backing up your mobile phone for you for free. And you have a problem with them trying to bring these services to more users? OK, just making sure I understand.

Now moving along, MG and others have continuously doubted the chances of success for Google+. Basically, they make the claim that Facebook solves that problem and no one needs another social network. Yet, for some reason, no one can stop talking about it. Google+ is everywhere and its growth is tremendous. Personally, I have no doubt this platform will take off, it has already begun to, but let’s put my opinion aside. 100 million users already on Google+ and 400 million expected by the end of the year. Still not convinced?

As far as how active those users are, the engagement I am seeing on Google+ is close to five times the engagement I am seeing on Facebook or Twitter. I am talking about the same post, the same picture, the same blog post generating five times the amount of clicks that those other platforms generate.

So what is this one mysterious word I talk about that will give Google+ the ability to challenge and possibly overcome Facebook’s complete social dominance? The one word is… Mobile.

Here is the thing. It is no surprise that the mobile space is exploding. It is constantly breaking new records. Smartphone sales, app downloads, developer revenue, etc. etc. Mobile is slowly replacing the Web as the primary source for content and social activity.

Guess who is the undisputed ruler of the mobile world? Nope, not Apple, at least not as far as market share is concerned and that is what matters here. Google is! Now, Android already offers some Google+ integration but if Google’s previous patterns of behavior are any indication, the future versions of Android will come fully integrated with Google+.

When that happens, you know who will suffer? Facebook. I know what you’re thinking. “Facebook is too strong for Google+ to even matter”. Yes, of course, just as MySpace was too strong for Facebook to even matter. Or how strong iPhone was for Android to even matter. There is no such thing! Even Google was the search underdog in the beginning.

With Android spreading like a cancer, and Google’s well-known strategy to integrate all its services, there is no question in my mind that when the mobile revolution reaches its peak, Google will be all over it and will check in using Google+.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.
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  1. Richard February 21, 2012

    Personally I know very few people on Google+

    The people I do are techies. Until you can get your general Facebook user over it has no chance

    • hilzfuld February 21, 2012

      So you don't know many people using the service and therefore it won't succeed… The fact that it has 100 million users after six months is irrelevant I guess.

  2. Carms Perez February 21, 2012

    I find it HILARIOUS how you end the post with "Please share your thoughts in the comments or on >>>>Twitter and Facebook<<< where we are always listening. How hilarious. I'm gonna post the rest of my comment about this topic on G+ :)

    • hilzfuld February 21, 2012

      Ha, valid point, will add the @inneractive Google+ account to the signature.

  3. Bruce Krulwich February 21, 2012

    Hillel, I think you're missing the import of Richard's comment. G+ certainly has the tecie market and it certainly has what let's call the early adopter market. It even has a lot of the tech-oriented business market. But sit on the bus as the high schools let out and it's not G+ that all the teenagers are using on their phones, it's Facebook.

    More importantly, when was the last time you saw something on G+ that you didn't see in parallel on all the other systems? But how often do you see things on FB that you don't see anywhere else?

    I venture to claim that G+ has gotten the users that tend to use anything good that comes out, but not those that choose one.

  4. hilzfuld February 21, 2012

    Bruce, I disagree with pretty much every word of your comment, with all due respect :) 100 million users in 6 months is not something to belittle. In addition, to say that teenagers are using Facebook now so Google+ will not succeed in the future is downright ridiculous. As I wrote in the post, that is the same thing, word for word, people were saying about MySpace and Facebook. Google+ has MANY advantages over Facebook including hangouts, circles, simple privacy settings, and many more. I also disagree that there is not content on Google+ that does not appear elsewhere. Completely false in my personal experience.

  5. Gremlin February 21, 2012

    The benefits are irrelevant: won't unsuspend my account until or unless I give them ridiculous amounts of proof that I am who I say I am; they could give out daily free cars to everyone who uses the network, and I still couldn't play with it.

    Regardless how cool G+ might be to the people approved to use it, the PlusGate bigotry continues, and prevents a large percentage of people from using an increasing number of services.

    • hilzfuld February 21, 2012

      No idea what you did to get suspended but you are the only person I ever heard of who had this claim against Google…

  6. Mark February 21, 2012

    "spreading like a cancer"

    You make it sound like it's a bad thing :)

  7. Tejas Richard February 21, 2012

    Bruce, if you don't see content on G+ that isn't on facebook, then you aren't circling the right people. Period. I closed both my twitter account and my facebook account because they were redunadant and FAR less engaging than G+. It has been 6 months now, and I don't regret it for a second.

  8. Yusri February 21, 2012

    True majority of the G+ users are techies…for now, but that will change because if you think about it people generally don't flock all at once from one service to another its usually a tough battle especially at the beginning.

    100 mil users in 6 months is not a small feat even if someone were to say that these users are not active it doesn't matter because they will be eventually as more and more of there friends join.

  9. Daniel Sevitt February 21, 2012

    Hillel you consistently dismiss anecdotal claims that no kids are using this platform, without ever addressing the point or asking why this might be true.

    So let me ask you straight out. Why do you think no schoolkids are using Google+? (If it makes it more likely that you will answer the question, feel free to throw in an imaginary "yet" before the question mark.)

    If you want to argue with the premise of the question, all you have to do is find four 13-16 year olds from your own neighborhood who have updated their Google+ profile in the last month.

    • Tim Ratigan March 25, 2012

      I hope you realize that for many months after Google+ even went into public beta, if you were a minor, you would have to fake your age to Google to make an account on Google+.

  10. Tony Lawrence February 21, 2012

    I'm not sure I want G+ to be more successful. Let the hordes of "Wassup, dude!" folks stay on FB; I have no use for them.

    One place G+ is screwing up is its poor support for iPhone/iPad. Their app is atrociously bad and they don't seem to care. Neglecting an important platform because they are also your competitor is just dumb.

  11. Rob Koehler February 21, 2012

    Tony,do you think you can put that all on Google? Apple a history of not playing nice with competing apps. Do you think they want hangouts on their devices?

  12. Andrew Stark February 21, 2012

    I have 2 things to say on this.

    #1 I don't use google + yet, I found this post via twitter, but I do check twitter on my mobile, so it does tie in nicely with your point.

    #2 Google android is going to be like microsoft windows. They are virtually giving it away with every non iphone. It may not be "the cool" marketplace but it will become the dominant force once a decent ipad alternative is released.


  13. Carrie February 21, 2012

    I constantly find more content and better content on g+ than facebook or twitter. I still use twitter enthusiastically, because it's a while different use case for me, but I waver daily about deleting my facebook. I hate it, honestly. Desktop or mobile, it's slow, clunky and badly coded. The only thing keeping me there is a core group of about 20 people. These are people I care very much about staying in touch with, but I haven't yet managed to get them in g+. They aren't techies, and for some reason they have the impression that g+ is harder to use than facebook. I agree that the pattern of the migration from myspace to facebook is repeating itself, so I am just waiting for them to be ready to try it.

  14. NathanOnline February 22, 2012

    I have no proof of my statements except for my own circles and stream, but I must say I disagree completely with the idea that G+ is mostly techies. There are thriving art, photography, political, science, and music communities growing on G+.

    Yeah, maybe kids are using Facebook more – not sure that's a bad thing. I appreciate that my interactions are with adults.

    As far as success or failure, I can attest to this: having begun using Facebook and adding G+ later, I now spend more time on G+. Why? I'm meeting new people I'm interested in meeting vs. reading my friend's 16th update that his cat has meowed or what he wishes was on TV tonight.

    I'm neither defending nor attacking Facebook – but I do see co-existence and complementary usage and engagement in both services' futures. I find the contrasts between the two services a positive. As far as mobile, I can't comment. I've managed to avoid it so far in a conscious attempt to not completely tether myself to this stuff, but its becoming increasingly difficult not to mobilize.

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