Google as a search engine is a fortress. Bing and many others have not successfully dented the dominance of Google as the major search engine of the United States. Our language reflects it. I tend to tell people to just “google” something if I can’t remember the web address. Good for them. They dominate common internet. But something has been growing up alongside the internet. Basically the gated communities of the world cyber-sphere, and the main one is Facebook. Google can see Facebook’s dominion behind the gate growing larger and larger. Within Facebook, there is an ultrapersonal way of organizing data and searching it out which is to seek out actual people and their profiles. Having friends that feed you data, and Facebook having users that give them data on interests, is a huge money maker. So naturally, Google must compete, and thus Google+
I’ve been using Google+ since I got invited about two weeks ago. It started slow as there was no one on that I really cared for and there was a learning curve with many of the elements. As more people have joined, there has been a trickle of items in the newsfeed, but people are basically cutting and pasting what they’ve already posted in Facebook. That is definitely not a draw to start moving over. Facebook already has the masses, so going over to do something that I’m already doing doesn’t make much sense. The general rule is that people will do what is most convenient. Not good for google.
What they are doing right:
(1) The circles option has developed into a great way to make a work flow for a creative group I’m in. There are three of us and we have had a hard time utilizing FB and email to get us motivated to write and do comics for our webcomic group. Google+ had us easily and instantly sharing information and having conversations and posting new content/planning new ventures. It has been a boom for us creatively. The best thing about this is that it is seperated from the masses of other people who have joined G+ and havent begun to use it.
(2) They integrate a lot including on their Mobile App. I downloaded the app and noticed that they’ve also put some features like Foursquare in there with location service and GPS location capabilities. Looking through the simplicity and functionality of the mobile app was the first aha other than business flow, I’d had for Google+. I think if they gain active people, this will be a plus.
What doesn’t work:
(1) The quasi-contacts from Gmail that have no faces are freaking me out. I’m not sure where Google is going with this because so many people haven’t made Google Profiles yet. It think that I shouldn’t be allowed to place contacts in my circles until they are actually Google+ profile made members. It feels like a ghost town in the larger realm.
(2) The branding and feel are a bit gaudy. The refined shades of blue in Facebook feel more soft and easy to spend time on. Google’s Blues Yellows and Greens clash and make the place feel cacophonous. I’m hoping for it to be more refined in the future.
Use Google+ if you are looking for another space to separate from the multitudes on Facebook. G+ is a quiet place where you can make a small circle and use it for business/creative flows. It works well that way. The good news is that you can just have both tabs open and compare the experiences yourself. Good luck.