The suffix “Plus” in Google Plus might just represent the operator between the social networks Google plans to compete with. In extremely crude terms, Google Plus can actually be represented by following equation:
Google+ = Facebook + Twitter + Skype
Any other comparisons to Foursquare, LinkedIn or WordPress are most definitely farfetched. Google Plus or G+ (as internet terminology goes), can be defined as ‘The Integrated Network’. It can be used for both private as well as public communication without the need for specialized services. It merges the network interaction of Facebook with the openness of Twitter while making Skype communication a thing of the past.
Plenty of praises for a brand new shiny toy. But if I were to look at the features and the user interface, then I’d be right in saying that Facebook should be scared (as summarized by Mark Zuckerberg’s reaction in his Google+ display pic.) So, is G+ a Facebook killer? In a single word, no. and by the end of this post, you’ll understand why.
You’ll find plenty of posts which list and explain all the Google+ features, so I’m going to spare you the details. But what might make sense is to compare it to existing services like Facebook, Twitter and Skype. The not so obvious first:
Google+ vs Skype
Google+ Hangout has taken what Skype has, and progressed it by atleast a generation. You can now hangout with upto 10 users and interact using video. But the coolest feature here is ‘narrator switching’. If more than two users are hanging out, then Google+ automatically brings focus to the user who is currently talking. The switch is smooth and unobtrusive. Google+ Hangout gives you the ability to text chat, audio chat or video chat with users, but the cool feature here is the ability to broadcast (share) a YouTube video to all participants hanging out. I like how easily you can Mute Video; mighty useful if you are having a bad hair day.
Microsoft is definitely going to see a large part of its user base move out of Skype and adopt Google+. I’m not sure if they are going to be too happy about this, especially since they paid top dollar to buy the company.
Google+ vs Twitter
Unlike Google+, Twitter is a completely open communications tool. You can update on twitter from virtually unlimited options. There’s text (SMS), twitter.com, Email and Twitter Apps. No matter where you are, you can always get a tweet across. Unfortunately, Google+ doesn’t extend this flexibility. This is precisely why heavy Twitter users may not gravitate to Google+.
Google+ vs Facebook
Unlike other comparisons, this one is quite the battle. For starters, the Google+ UI has a striking resemblance to Facebook. So striking that I’d be surprised if Facebook doesn’t sue. The unified news feed, +1 button, and user tagging are just some of the features Google+ has quite conveniently borrowed. The action of adding connections to a circle is so slick that it borders on being cool. But after a few times, it does get quite cumbersome and initial attraction wanes.
But what Facebook lacks in its current form is the option to just follow people whose public post I can receive. Also, most users don’t create or maintain public posts. People, who want to be extremely public, always end up launching a Facebook Page. This work-around isn’t a healthy option. Secondly, Facebook could definitely do with a Hangout like feature.
The question remains, is Google+ a Facebook killer? Well, no. Definitely not in its current avatar. For one, it doesn’t solve a problem. Staying in touch with my friends was a problem which Facebook solves quite elegantly. Secondly, I currently don’t have an easy way to move all my connections from Facebook and Twitter to Google+. Lack of this feature can actually be a Google+ killer!
In conclusion, you’ll see how, once the initial excitement fades, the number of users who will adopt it will depend on the number of friends who are on Google+. And with them already having invested in connections on Facebook, you’ll see them leave Google+ as quickly as they came in.
However, Google has temporarily shut down the invitation system to avoid any initial launch hick-ups. Though the system did open for few hours in the morning but it couldn’t last very long. We shall update to your readers who failed to join Google+, as soon as invitation will reopen.Above thoughts have been crafted by Preetham Venkky – an avid techvangelist and social media consultant. He has been an early adopter of Facebook (2007) and using Twitter since 2008. He actively uses both these SocNets daily for professional as well as personal communication. On social media arena he can be spotted by “ideasmaverick”.