Good Night, and Good Luck, G+
May 3, 2016
A mirage in the middle of the desert. Okay, maybe there was a small pond and a few palm trees. Even with it’s great intentions and strong potential to serve purpose for online users in the social sphere of the internet, it was all in all, a social desert. As that’s how it’s solely been since the beginning. Despite its huge spike of traffic in its baby years, Google+ didn’t have what it took to keep us coming back. As if the mass migration from Myspace to Facebook wasn’t good enough, G+ tried to follow an act that just couldn’t be matched.
When the worlds most powerful influencer launched what was supposed to the the next biggest platform, it was welcomed with much excitement and celebration, however, its time of arrival wasn’t perfect. Arriving in 2011, Google+ was well behind the social game, especially when FB was growing at a rapid pace. As FB is known for its advertising, its collection of user data was also growing at a rapid pace. Google needed to compete. However, isn’t collecting insight, turning it around and developing world beloved products Google’s strong suit?Google gained massive amounts of press behind their launch, guaranteeing that Google+ would soon be the preferred platform over its competitors. Surprisingly, in no time G+ went from a shining light to a dull glow.
In the short run, Google was seeking a quick fix to pick up on a few gains. It made sense. While logged into your account, Google would track the time you spent browsing, sharing, liking and commenting on the web. Between your user and personal data, the deep integration system stretched all the way to it’s other products (Calendar, search, Youtube, etc.)
This sounds perfect in theory: a product that would soon have everyone leaving Facebook, and making the move to G+…but wait a second, why? While Google’s efforts might have been all there, the concept, timing and authenticity wasn’t.
Although people were curious about the new product, it lacked enticing factors to keep people at the party. One of the main reasons people flocked to G+, but didn’t actually stay there is the fact that it didn’t offer anything better than the competition. Sure you could post your photos to G+ and all of your 3 friends spread out over your 10 “circles” would see it, or you could post to FB and have all your friends see it. Simply, there was no motivation to stay. Managing one social account in your life is already hard enough, so setting up a social identity on a new platform would take a lot of energy, time, and most of all, proven confusion.
Photo Courtesy of Wall Street Journal
For obvious reasons, G+ is facing some significant changes. Sundar Pichai– the Senior Vice President of Products at Google– sees it not disappearing entirely, just shedding it’s skin. While the social component seems to be leaving, Photos and Streams– previously components of Google+– are sticking around for round two. Secondly, Google is taking components of the fallen product and integrating them into Contacts which will be a big thumbs up for Google among it’s dedicated following. As Bradley Horowitz– longtime Product VP at Google– puts it, ”It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.” Cool! While David Besbris’, Head of Social Networking at Google, role is unclear, Horowitz has recently been placed in charge of running Google’s Photos and Streams.
Google+ marked the company’s most concentrated effort to rival social media giants, but ultimately has yet to gain true value. What we can establish from this long and simply, convenient relationship with Google + is that it was good while it lasted. Although it did not last long, what did happen was an avenue for another product to be created (Photo and Streams) that could potentially be what we wanted in the first place. Or maybe Tinder just stole Google’s “Plus”, but that’s another story…