Why You WILL End up Using Google+

Posted on 26. Jul, 2011 by in Marketing, Tech, Web

By: Hillel Fuld

I guess it was inevitable that I was going to write a post about the new hot social network by the search giant, Google+. You already saw the guest post about why Google+ is great from a non-geeky perspective, but here is why I love it and believe you will end up there, whether you like it or not.

For starters, I will say that I have been using Google+ from the first day it launched. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that my initial reaction was not very different than the reaction of many others, “Google copied Facebook, why should I  use this platform?” That lasted for an hour or two, until I got passed the visual similarities between Facebook and Google+ and started to really use the new platform. Then I fell in love.

Have I stopped using Twitter? No, and chances are, I never will. Facebook? My time on site has decreased significantly and that time is now spent on Google+. Here is why.

One of the things I have said many times about Twitter and the main reason I love the service so much is because it doesn’t really matter what your profession or goals are, Twitter will facilitate them. If you are in PR, Twitter is a powerhouse. If you want to network, well that is a no-brainer. If you want to drive traffic to your site, Twitter is almost unparalleled. And the list goes on.

Google+ is the same story but one ups Twitter on many fronts. So much has been said about Google+ and its unique advantages, so I am going to try to avoid repeating everything you have read already.

If I had to name one reason I believe Google+ will absolutely explode in popularity, it is the integration that it offers with Google’s suite of products. I am sure Google will add more services such as Google Docs, Tasks, and many others, but for now, users do not have to separate their day to day services like email from their social media activity like they did with Facebook. Facebook tried to solve this with Facebook Messages, but we all know how well that went for them.

When I asked on the various platforms why people thought Google+ would succeed, the vast majority of the answers I got were regarding the deep integration of Google services within Google+. On that front, no one, not Facebook or Twitter, can compete with Google. Google has some work ahead to bring Google+ to mobile the way it should be, but as it stands, the platform has a bright future.

The truth is, when I come to write a blog post, I formulate my thoughts, write them down, and often try to find pictures or videos that support my theory. In this case, the opposite was true and the idea for this post came from watching the video below, which was made by Epipheo and pretty much cleared up the question of why Google+ over Twitter or Facebook?

Circles

Google has gone on record many times saying the company is trying to help people socialize on the Web like they do in real life. Twitter does not do this because who talks in 140 characters or has a hyperlink attached to every sentence they say in real life? Facebook also does not do this because, as the video states, the people you call your friends on Facebook are more often than not, someone you would not even recognize on the street. Circles on the other hand, is the perfect term to describe the natural way of defining the people we interact with.

Now that Google introduced the concept, i don’t know how it was not introduced sooner. You have your different social circles that sometimes overlap, and often share very different interests and even cause you to display very different behavior. What you do or say in front of your family is most likely not what you do or say when you are with your college buddies or work colleagues. So simple, yet so brilliant.

On Google+, for those of you who have been under a rock, you can share different content with different circles and read updates from different circles as well. Yes, Facebook has Lists, but let’s move on and agree that they are a complete failure, since I think it was 5% of Facebook users who actually bother to make Lists. With Google+, it is all so much easier and more intuitive. I think the best word here is “natural”.

Sparks

If you, like me, are seriously addicted to Twitter and the constant flow of interesting and relevant content, as well as the ease of consuming short blurbs of content, you are going to love Sparks. Sparks basically did what Facebook tried and failed to do, bring the Twitter experience of real time content into a full-fledged social network.

As I said, I have not stopped using Twitter, nor has my usage decreased, but I did set up topics of interest in Google+ and have definitely used Sparks to read content throughout the day. Of course, with Sparks, you get much more than a 140 character update with a shortened URL. You can see an excerpt of the content with an accompanying thumbnail, which makes the whole experience of consuming content, that much more interactive and enjoyable.

Hangouts

Hangouts on Google+ is probably the killer feature of the new platform, especially when it makes its way to mobile. If you are not familiar, Hangouts allows you to join a group video chat with up to ten people (Google might increase that number). You can invite people to join your hangout or just post it publicly that you are hanging out, an update that anyone can respond to by jumping into the room.

I have already hung out with tens of Googlers including the Senior Vice President of Google Engineering Vic Gundotra. Why would he waste his time hanging out with me? Because I, along with the other people in the hangout, gave him some seriously useful feedback about bugs, missing features, as well as feature requests. He wrote it all own and left us all with the feeling that Google is taking our feedback very seriously.

On Hangouts, the person who is talking gets the focus and everyone else sees that person’s face. It gets kinda awkward when people are interrupted mid sentence and the picture keeps changing from person to person. It can also get awkward when there is silence in a Hangout, which again, kinda reminds me of the awkward silence we sometimes experience in real life encounters. Again, Google managed to duplicate real life experiences on the social Web better than anyone before them.

Engagement

This point is up for debate. I have conducted multiple experiments over the past month and asked the same question on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The result was almost always identical. One to two comments on Facebook (over 1,500 friends), five to ten replies on Twitter (close to 20k followers), and over 50 comments on Google+ (close to 4,300 added me to their circles). You do the math.

The engagement level on Google+ is absolutely unprecedented and even has many people complaining about the noise. Of course, there are countless Chrome extensions to collapse comments, and organize threads, but the fact of the matter is, Google+ has a whole lot more action than its competitors.

Now, yes, I know what you’re thinking. It is new and people are excited. That could be, but if I am judging by the platform’s insane growth (over 20 million users in less than a month), the follower count growth people are reporting (more Google+ “followers” in a month than Twitter followers in three years), and the responsiveness people are experiencing on Google+, I do believe the level of engagement will only grow, while the other’s will shrink. It is happening on Facebook already now.

Just a fraction of a Google+ thread...

I have so much more to say about Google+ and its expected dominance, but I will sum up (because people are seriously sick of my long rants) and say that you and all your friends WILL end up using Google+. You don’t believe me? Think about the reaction you had to the following services, then think about how many of them you are on today: Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Gmail, Google Docs, iTunes.

These are just a few examples of services many people said they would never use, but due to clear advantages, their audiences have and continue to grow at a seriously increased pace. The same will be true for Google+ mainly because, like I said, it truly replicates real life experiences, offers deep integration with Google services such as Chat, Search, Video, RSS, Photos, and of course, Email.

Now, watch the video that says everything I said in two and a half minutes.

I know some of the stuff I said above will spark some controversy, and if it didn’t, you did not read it carefully enough. So let me know how wrong I am in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter, I would love to know how dumb you think I am. I am @hilzfuld.

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30 Responses to “Why You WILL End up Using Google+”

  1. Miriam

    26. Jul, 2011

    I don’t think you’re wrong.

    But I do hesitate to give over completely to the Google beast. It’s enough that my work and personal emails, pictures, blogs, browser, docs and so on are there – by preserving some of my content in FB and Twitter I feel like I’m diversifying my online investment, so to speak. For example, if my Google PW were to be stolen – that’s a HUGE amount of damage that could be done.

    Diversifying feels like you’re fighting against the Big Brother a little too.

    • J.J.

      26. Jul, 2011

      It certainly seems like Big Brother intends to watch us for a very, very long time. Big Brother is clearly here to stay.

      I too don’t feel comfortable with Google having all of my information. Sure, they already have the technology to get whatever information about me they please. However… to voluntarily give them my information… They say they don’t sell it to third parties. Of course not… they can profit themselves. Why sell to competitors?

  2. Yowzaa

    26. Jul, 2011

    “Google+ Don’t fight it” ??? What the heck?
    I now will do all in my power not to use it.
    Where is diaspora? THAT is the social network I’m waiting to use.

  3. iose

    26. Jul, 2011

    ..and I don’t think you are right! :-)) it is such a desperate attempt to retain all the advertising that is going away on socials (ops..on facebook). The search was our entryhome to the web but now it is mostly social platforms..what do do? let’s go social (three times the did). The pc was the center of our digital world but now it is mobile…what to do? let’s go mobile.
    I give you something new to medidate:
    1) it’s impossible even only imagine 750mln users all active on two, three social nets. Fb is untouchable because, yep, g+ is a clone in its core exp and the integration with its docs suite doesn’t matter :-) I can imagine about 100mln “google” users on g+ in the next years. No more than that.
    2) while google is focusing on following “the others” (from mobile to socials..I repeat “following”) it is going to loose its core (the search..that they don’t innovate for 10years and more) and will end up to experiencing its first big crisis quite soon.
    All the best

    • hilzfuld

      26. Jul, 2011

      Thanks for that, interesting perspective, but I do disagree :)

      • Ruhani Rabin

        26. Jul, 2011

        Few years before most probably the same person said… Myspace is untouchable ;)

  4. Rivki

    26. Jul, 2011

    I do like G+ so far, because of everything you mentioned. However, since most of my friends IRL are considerably less into SM than I am, I’m nervous that they will feel like “why should I start all over from scratch.” I felt that way initially. Also, because most of my actual friends are only on FB, I’m less inclined to share my more personal items (at this point).

    So, I’m hoping that as more people hop on over to G+, I’ll be able to utilize it to a fuller extent. Until then, I’m still a little confused as to what content I should be sharing on G+ that I’m not sharing on FB or Twitter. I’d love to see an article on that! How to differentiate the content from our other SM accounts while we transition from FB to G+, or if we should differentiate, etc.

  5. iose

    26. Jul, 2011

    Did someone said that fb copied myspace?? :-)..fb has given a face to what we now call social experience. Google has not re-invented the social experience..if you use g+ you gonna not use fb. Btw I saw google fans using buzz instead of twitter and fb..I can live thinking of them over g+. Let’s update our comments then! When do you think we can get a final word? 1 yr? 2yrs? I will check your post ;-)
    My only question is..how to be fans of a company that acts like a microsoft in its darkest time?

  6. Georgi

    26. Jul, 2011

    Anyone try “TOPSY.com”, its a REAL TIMES SEARCH ENGINE FOR SOCIAL WEB, like TWITTER.

    • hilzfuld

      26. Jul, 2011

      Yes, it is a great site.

  7. Benji

    26. Jul, 2011

    That is pretty damn impressive! Just this morning you asked me what to blog about today.. and Baaaam! Here you have quite an interesting piece of work.

    In the end of the day, I guess you are entitled to your incorrect opinion: ) Really, I agree with a lot of what you said… only, not Hangouts. I think those are a waste of time and won’t be used too often once the hype dies down.

    Also, as big as Google is, I don’t know.. I wouldn’t be surprised if within the next 2 years, the way technology is going, something else is going to come out and blow Google right out of the water.

  8. Itamar Rogel

    26. Jul, 2011

    Hillel, don’t you know your readers are rebels and contrarians? We don’t like being told we WILL end up doing something… ;-)

    Other than that, great write-up as usual :)

  9. Lancasoy

    27. Jul, 2011

    My folks and old relatives never adopted Myspace, friendster, or any other social network before. Now that they adopted Facebook, I don’t think they’d give a shit about Google+. It’s already hard for them retaining 1 social network account and remembering how to login. I think that’s where Facebooks appeal lies, getting those who were initially not into social networking .

  10. Mary Spiro (@Mary_Spiro)

    27. Jul, 2011

    OMG Hilz, that video at the end makes G+ sound like the Borg and that resistance if futile. I had a G+ account for only six days and then deleted it. But maybe there is a way to do it only for work related stuff. I just was overwhelmed by the number of people putting me in their Circles. When couple of exes did that, I’d had enough. But perhaps that would be OK if it were my work persona only. As a media relations person I can’t ignore G+ and what it might be able to do for traffic to our website or even exposure to my freelance stuff. I am just not convinced yet that I can exploit it properly,

  11. Yoni Doe

    27. Jul, 2011

    At best, G+ will end up as a niche product. The interface is bland. While it has some minor refinements over FB, there’s not nearly enough to get over the massive inertia FB has.

    FB created a community and neighborhood. People just don’t pick up and move because Hovnanian came along a built one that’s a little nicer nearby.

    The 20 million is WAY overinflated. Google is measuring sign-ups not regular users.

    Hangouts, your “killer feature”, is totally counter to the idea of social networking. People do not want to commit to face to face communication. Again, it may find specific uses, like for business or short directed meetings. But FB will have that soon too.

    Aside from a few geeks like you and me, I’ve seen virtually no movement toward G+.

    Hillel, you’re a super-geek, which is great, but I really don’t think you’re seeing this product through more “typical” eyes.

  12. Benji Lovitt

    30. Jul, 2011

    Interesting. I still feel like saying “let me know when everyone’s on it.” I just don’t have energy to figure out a new site right now.

  13. Ken Hurst

    08. Aug, 2011

    I think it’s ironic that this blog doesn’t yet have a Google+ +1 button yet. I was ready to +1 it so I could read it in its entirety later.

  14. Debra Cincioni

    18. Aug, 2011

    Great article! Very well written and informative! Thanks for sharing!

    Debra aka @momsofamerica

  15. Shire

    19. Aug, 2011

    A great article for anyone who wants to know all about Google Plus. Thanks for the awesome article! (ˆ?ˆ)?

  16. nettie feldman

    29. Aug, 2011

    i get the idea, but i feel like Sergey and Larry are taking over my life.

  17. Don Ristow

    16. Sep, 2011

    “A must see for potential G+ users and curious fans of social media!”
    A very impressive & highly educational video that is fun to watch & easy to understand! Hilts also did a fantastic job; (write up) explaining the platform of Google plus. He also provides a deeper understanding of the new social media explosion. Thank you; and great work!
    -Don Ristow (Ristow Studio)
    Illustrator & Graphics Expert
    Tweet: cre8tive2

  18. Ziona Etzion

    18. Sep, 2011

    I think people do go on-line to enlarge their circle and network and part of that is advertising their business.

    So far it is blocking advertising. Something that FB doesn’t do.

    How do you imagine that their business profiles will be? I think that it is important that it is part of a personal profile as that is only a small aspect of the person’s social presence.

  19. Brendan Thesingh

    18. Sep, 2011

    Funny all the arguments I am hearing here have been the same since the beginning of G+. Basically: “Yeah facebook has 750 million users, and those are not going to leave for g+.” Well the first mass produced car was a Ford. Does everyone drive a Ford now? And then how much competition has facebook killed? MySPace and a whole host of local social networks. And people left those networks within a few years. If we look at the way g+ grew in the last months, the interaction on th eplatform and the speed in at which enhancements are rolled out then facebook and twitter are in big trouble. Especially if you are advising businesses on the use of social media I would seriously take note. Step in NOW or have big regrets later.

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