So What’s The Big Deal About Google + Your World? Will It Kill Facebook And Twitter?

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)

    Google Plus Your World Now Displays Content From All Your Social Networks...As Long As You Only Use Google+

    Google Plus Your World Now Displays Content From All Your Social Networks...As Long As You Only Use Google+

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Cheers!

–Sean

Note: The tombstone images created for this article were derived by an image by L.Marie on Flickr, under the creative commons license.

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