Here we go again…Google treading in areas that it just doesn’t seem to “get”.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a HUGE Google fan, owning Android phones, using GMail as my email client, and Chrome as my primary browser. And, of course, I use Google as my search engine of choice. In these areas, Google does a great job understanding the needs of their community and delivering services that meet those needs.
But social networks? Not yet Google! I was an early adopter of Google Wave and was very disappointed. I get that it was an experiment that Google wanted to learn from and I was hoping that they had learned a lot from that miserable failure.
So when Google+ launched, I jumped in again but was, again, seriously unimpressed with the “me too” nature of trying to copy Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. Basically, other than GMail, I have been unimpressed by any of Google’s attempts at social networking tools (and YouTube doesn’t count because they bought that technology, they didn’t develop it).
So when Google announced a new product called “Google + Your World” and everyone started announcing the death of Facebook and Twitter, I was naturally skeptical. Remember when Google + was going to kill Facebook and Twitter? Errm…yeah…right….how did that work out?
So, in case you’re not familiar with the Google + Your World and all it has to offer, here’s the skinny:
- Google + Your World will now display not only search results when you conduct a search on Google.com, but also related content from your social networks. So when I did a search for “ios 5” on Google, not only did I see web pages and blog posts, but I also saw Google+ posts and comments on the operating system. (Yes…I have a little angst with iOS 5 and the fact that it crashes my iPadall the time)
- The only social networks that Google will currently show is Google+ because Twitter and Facebook currently don’t allow Google to index their content
- Therefore, if you don’t use Google+ and your friends don’t use Google+, this new functionality is a complete waste and won’t really impact you at all.
- Since no one appears to be using Google+, even writing blog posts like this one is essentially a big waste of time.
However, since folks are asking about whether Google + Your World is going to impact Facebook and Twitter, the answer is…
No. Not Really. Not Yet. Not unless Google Can figure out how to:
- Play nice with Facebook and Twitter. Yes, they need to play with them, not expect to destroy them. Facebook and Twitter are not going away.
- Convince users to actually use Google+. Right now, usage is very, very low. I work in social media every day and very few social media pros that I know are actually recommending Google+ to their clients.
- Attract a broader demographic to Google+. Early on, Google+ was populated primarily by tech-geek men. Because the posts were primarily about technology and social networking, non-tech-geek women just weren’t interested. Without the soap-opera feel of Facebook or Twitter, Google+ because a giant social media sausage-fest. Google+ has to figure out a way to attract women to their platform, and cute Muppet commercials aren’t the answer.
If they can’t do either of the above, Google + Your World will be a nice service for Google+ users and irrelevant to the other 98% of the world. Oh yeah, before you start flaming me with numbers of Google+ accounts that have been created and the size of the network, know that actual use of Google+ accounts continues to be questionable.
Disagree? I’d love to hear why you think Google + Your World is game changing in the social space or if you agree, I’m game for those comments, as well.
Note: The tombstone images created for this article were derived by an image by L.Marie on Flickr, under the creative commons license.