Just two days back Google announced that its social media initiative Google+ is growing enormously. Company said that more than 135 million users are now checking their Google+ streams in a month. Undoubtedly, it’s a remarkable growth as it’s a huge number. The growth becomes noticeable as during 2008, in early days, Facebook was also surging up with almost same scale. Then what has kept Facebook riding high only to leave Google+ in hunt to earn respect among social media users ? Is the growth of Google+ hyped than well-measured estimation?
No, I am not a die-heart fan of Facebook; In fact Mark Zuckerberg will put me among users he would like to listen last in this world. But, I have scored in social space multiple times by reaching out to the nerve of internet users who are the driving force behind the success of any social and internet property. As far as Google+ is concerned, I see no fun in being connected to same people for same interest and talking almost same thing through another network that has got nothing different to offer me. In fact it would be more like a pain than pleasure to do almost identical things by re-investing my time for another network – unless and until it has got something that could get users’ eye-ball rolling. Same Wall, Same Pages, Similar functionality and significantly influenced business model – Did I miss anything? Please, don’t tell me about hangouts it was already there much before Google added ‘plus’; and people were pretty happy too!
At every regular interval Google has been keep disclosing the number of users Google+ acquired. However, in social space, it’s not a number of unique users who would keep you afloat; it’s the time they spent on network and number of login sessions by each users’ in a month. Unfortunately, Google is not ready to disclose anything of these. In a recent interaction at Google’s own event, Sr. executives denied addressing questions related to these figures. For a company like Google – already has access and influence over millions of internet users via various services and apps – signup numbers shouldn’t be any milestone. Rather, company should focus on engaging them with innovative features, activities and discussions which would result in higher engagement and time spend. Integrated innovative business services, like Quora, Pinterest and Instagram, could prove path-breaking for Google+ users.
The very same issues are also keeping business and brands away from Google+. For them it’s not the number of unique users, it’s an engagement and interaction of a social network’s users that matters the most. Therefore, despite of being more than an year now, Businesses are yet to find a strong justification behind Google+ presence.
Countries like India, where Google+ has benefited with maximum number of users and activities compare to other countries on Google+, the performance and attraction are leaning towards Facebook more than any other network. This could be one of the reasons behind Twitter and LinkedIn slow growth rate compare to internet adoption ratio.
Despite of all, Google+ has gained some respect as Google+ users are more satisfied than Facebook. Google is having far better understanding and experience of internet users than Facebook. Various technical challenges have been denting Facebook’s users’ experience for long. Many would call it as a result of struggle to maintain mammoth 1 Billion users investing maximum hours of their internet time over Facebook. However, for users’ ultimately it’s a smooth drive that matters the most.
Unfortunately, Google is putting all its efforts to ‘poach’ Facebook users’ instead of filling Facebook’s gap in Google+. People are slowly distancing from Facebook in terms of time and efforts. Google+ should look forward to ‘buy’ that time users are discounting on Facebook.
It’s high-end for Google to take a call and focus on really impactful aspect of the social media aspects rather than boasting over sign-up numbers and unique users. And, if this continues in the same fashion, I won’t be surprised if one day Google+ also reaches the same destiny many of other Google acquired business ventures already found.