Yesterday I walked down State St. with a friend with whom I am starting a business venture and asked people what they knew and thought about Google+, the newest online social network. The responses from the youth were varied, ranging from complete oblivion to articulate predictions of Google Plus' failure. Almost nobody seemed excited about it, and nobody believed it would takeover Facebook as the premier social media outlet.
It was a little surprising, but I don't think Google executives should worry too much. When it comes to internet success, the kids are important, but they're not everything. This is why I think Google+ is ultimately going to triumph. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Google+ will not delete your stuff. For instance, Facebook recently deleted several iPhone fan pages in apparent anticipation of a big announcement from Apple about an upcoming Facebook app on the new iPhone. There are horror stories of businesses that spend months or years building up a fan page, only to have it deleted permanently over virus concerns. A politician I know only got his page back because he had a connection at Facebook. People -- especially in the business world -- want more consistency. How it helped Facebook to delete the iPhone pages mystifies me, but that a social network can delete fan pages to benefit its business interests means that companies cannot count on it as a reliable platform.
If you want to, you can delete your stuff on Google+ You don't own a Facebook account. The company gives you the privilege of borrowing a piece of its cyberspace in exchange for all the information you feed it. Even if you delete your account, your information remains, which may be sold to advertisers and, perhaps, be used against you in an embarrassing way some years down the line. For instance, while Google tracks your activity on its services (Google search etc.), Facebook is alleged to have gone a step further, putting cookies in your browser that follow you to the darkest corners of the net even after you've signed out. I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see parents trying to get their kids onto Google+ and off of Facebook.
Google+ offers more privacy more easily. Facebook's privacy policies are a hodgepodge of reactions to various outcries from users. Although you can adjust your settings on Facebook to limit what others can see on your profile, Google+ has streamlined this process and put it at the front and center of friend-making. Every time you follow somebody, you put them in one or more of the circles that you've created. You can choose what people in various circles see, meaning Dad doesn't see the picture of you at the Anarchist rally and your broskis don't see the pictures of you cuddling with the GF.
Google+ is connected to Gmail. As much as Facebook has succeed in hosting a number of online services, such as instant messaging and video chat (who uses AIM anymore?), the link they're missing is email, which I believe is not going away anytime soon. As any adolescent will tell you, email is not necessary for effective online communication, but I don't think the professional world will abandon it anytime soon. At least not for another couple decades. As a result, Google+ will simply be the easier social network to partake in. Those who have both Facebook accounts and Google+ accounts will find themselves being more active in the latter because of its connection to their email. People want to sign into as few services as possible throughout the day.
Any thoughts of your own on the topic? Anybody think Google+ is going to flop?
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