Editor’s Note: In 2018, Google ditched Google+. Read more about the change.
The Facebook News Feed is sort of turning into a personal newspaper. Photos have now become more prominent. A news ticker right above the chat column keeps you up-to-date with all the real-time activities taking place in your social network. While updates continue at Facebook, Google+ (or Google Plus) is growing (it can now boast around 40 million members).
Google Plus is growing at a rapid pace. The chart below shows how quickly the social network is getting adopted by members worldwide, as compared to other similar platforms.
The big question, however, is whether Google will be able to beat out Facebook in the social media arena. Will it get any success at pulling away users from Facebook, which currently is the social space leader?
There’s little doubt that Google Plus has some ‘pluses’ (in fact heavy ones), as far as the initial growth is concerned. In a sense, Google has the hammer for compelling us to use Google+. The biggest factor that contributes to the growth of Google Plus is its integration with other key Google products including Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Maps, Blogger, Analytics etc.
In addition, Google enjoys the benefit of having Android, the leading mobile platform. Contrary to what people believe, Google has suggested it time and again that Google+ doesn’t directly target Facebook. According to Google, the Plus social network has been introduced to make its entire products socially connected and enabled.
There are users who believe they can’t leave Facebook until they can really get a better dose of gossip, fun and trivia. On the other hand, Google Plus has attracted many from day one.
Let’s have a look at some of key Google Plus attractors –
- Integration with other Google products
- Better friend management (the ‘Circles’ feature)
- Unique mobile apps
- Search for stuff to share (the ‘Sparks’ feature)
- Strong group chat facility (the ‘Hangouts’ feature)
- Browser-based photo editor
- Better privacy options
Right from the day Google Plus was launched (28 June, 2011), people have been wondering whether Google will be able to beat Facebook. Yes, Google Plus can beat Facebook! But it can only happen when it is able to reach a point where it starts drawing users from Facebook.
Let’s hear what Google chairman Eric Schmidt has to say. When asked whether Google can beat Facebook, this is what he said in an interview.
“It’s very hard to beat a fast-moving incumbent in exactly same game in technology because it changes so quickly. What you have to do is you have to find a new problem and do that much better than they are, and that’s what we’re trying to do. And if you do that, you can ultimately win very large.”
Unless and until Google identifies a new problem, it can never become a game-changer. If you can’t beat Facebook at its own game, you need to change the social game overall.
Undoubtedly, Facebook is feeling the heat. But it’s never going to limit itself by merely reacting to the announcements at Google Plus. In fact, Facebook clearly knows what it’s going to do. It has an entire roadmap to follow. It will be interesting to see what unfolds next.