Both the author and the reblogger of this post make good points that I’m inclined to agree with (even as a G+ user trying desperately, and ineffectively to get my friends to make the switch). There are a few caveats however.
Sarah Lacy talking about Google+ on PandoDaily:
We simply don’t need another social network, no matter how great your circles are or how badly Larry Page wants to have one.
Agreed. The problem, which Google really, truly does not seem to understand is that at the end of the day, they’re solving a problem which has already been solved. They may think it hasn’t, but it has.
It’s the same problem Bing faces in search against Google. It’s a fine product, but in order to get people to it, it has to be far better than the incumbent. Bing isn’t, so it will never beat Google. Google+ isn’t, so it will never beat Facebook (or Twitter, for that matter).
But Google is trying to cheat this system. By shoving it in our faces, they think that they can make their product catch on without the need to be above and beyond better than the incumbent.
I think we’ll see that this approach still won’t work. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter work because they evolved based on how users were naturally using them. Google+ is trying to make the users evolve to fit into the network they created. It’s unnatural.
Google Plus has another major problem, IMHO: It’s far too easy to build a follower base there. Which is not to say followers aren’t nice (really, they’re great), but there’s no feasible reason I should have 3,000 new followers in the past 30 days, when I’ve only posted five times since January 20, and my most recent post was Feb. 3. That is not natural, no matter how many circles I might possibly be in, and suggests spam issues. The way circles are set up now discourages engagement on a person-to-person level, because ultimately people and companies don’t want a follower, but a “relationship,” even if it’s one-sided. But to MG’s point, I’ll say this — I wouldn’t say the problem is fully “solved” yet. Keep in mind that people didn’t see a need for Twitter at first, and Tumblr came about in an already-crowded market. Google’s problem is that G+ is not different enough from other parts of the market. They didn’t need to make a new Facebook/Twitter hybrid. They needed to make Pinterest. — Ernie @ SFB
But first a quick overview of G+’s pros and cons
For Pros on G+ we have: Circles, which means intuitive controls for sharing what with whom (which is unique and far more useful than Facebook’s half-hearted attempt to mimic), Hangouts (group video chat), smooth integration with other Google products like reader, youtube, and search (though it is still controversial), as well as the ability to follow news organizations and individuals in a way that could (I really stress the “could” in this) rival twitter.
For Cons: ALL OF THE PRO’S are useless if your friends (and I mean the people you physically interact with) are not using the network, integrated search (“search plus your world”) could receive a public backlash even though it’s simple to switch off for those want unbiased search results.
First off, as social media sites expand and multiply, each with its own uses, people may find they are being overloaded. I have a G+, Facebook, Tumblr (obviously), and a twitter (regrettably). I can honestly say that while each site is a useful and unique tool for sharing, following news, and procrastinating; I also don’t want four social networks that I have to follow, maintain, and stress out over when I’m looking for employment. Why would I want to hold a hangout on G+, share photos on facebook, and follow one of my friends on twitter if I can do it all in the same place. If, and that’s a big if, Google can take the best of every social network and effectively replace all of a person’s social networking upkeep duties, then it could be just as effective at Facebook. As the author of the reblogged post noted, Facebook is suprerior to G+ in one crucial way: it was there first. This essentailly means that Facebook already has people’s friends in their network. However as G+ continues to grow, that problem may abate. If I can have aspects of a SINGLE profile for sharing photos and quick thoughts with friends (facebook), others for following media personalities and news, and still another for longer, more thoughtful blog posts; then my life (both real and digital) would be far more enjoyable and simpler. Whether Google accomplishes this idea of a one stop for social networking remains to be seen, but the company has built a network with the foundation for such a role. We think of internet users in early 2000’s as cavemen simply using the internet for crude websites, news, and maybe some shopping. It’s highly likely that in 10 years people will feel the same way about having five different accounts on websites that fulfill different aspects of the same need, the need to share and interact with our friends, and with our world.