By now, you’ve no doubt heard about Google+. Google launched this social networking platform, with some referring to it as a Facebook clone, at the end of June. I was fortunate to come across an early invite to join the platform and spent some quality time getting to know it. Here are some of my thoughts:
There seem to be two camps regarding Google+: 1. those who are giddy with excitement about Google’s latest move into online social networking, and 2. those who are nonplussed about + because we are already inundated with platform options in social media. Out of these platform options, four have really created sustainable platform gravity, and in social media, platform gravity wins:
- Facebook, closing in on 750 million users
- Twitter, with 200 million accounts as of last week
- LinkedIn, with over 100 million as of March 2011
- YouTube where more video content is uploaded in 60 days than on all 3 major TV created in 60 years
There is a growing vocal audience of folks who are expressing disdain with the endless parade of new social networking platforms. That Google+ seems such a late entry into this game would seem to be an obstacle to overcoming this disdain. And yet, millions of accounts have been created in a matter of weeks. This is partly the rush of the early adopter audience to check out the newest shiny object and partly Google’s smart launch strategy targeting early adopters.
Will this adoption momentum continue? Only time will tell, but this seems to be a very different launch for Google than the failed experiments of Buzz and Wave from previous years. Do you need to be on Google+? I recommend continuing to nurture those platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, where you know your audiences and/or customers already are and just watch developments on Google+ closely. Sure, create an account and take the time to learn the platform, but it’s too early to understand how Google+ might fit in your social marketing mix, or whether it ever will. That being said, Google still owns a priority position online with its market share in search and online advertising. If Google+ can sustain momentum it might be an interesting opportunity that sits at the intersection of online search, social and advertising. It isn’t a secret that Google wants to own that intersection, but whether it’s + that helps them achieve this, only time will tell.