Thursday, February 9, 2012

Google+ Momentum is from Google Strength - Not Google+ Greatness

You don't need me to tell you that Google+ is has a TON of momentum, and the Google+ momentum seems to be getting even stronger by the day.  That does not necessarily mean that it is good.

I am new to using Google+, and I have barely begun to use its features.

Even so, I have my first impressions of it.


Even though it's connected to Google, the largest search engine in the world, I'm not completely sold on it, yet.

I predict that Google+ will not breakthrough the mainstream anywhere near where people are predicting here in early 2012.  There are several reasons for this.

Google: I think that Google is a great company.  They took a concept from television and radio by providing useful and entertaining services for free.  Then they took it to another level--in a very good way--by providing the user with all sorts of free things, like email accounts, blogger accounts, maps with panoramic and street views, videos, translators, phone-like service, MS Office-like environments, and so much more.  Like TV and radio, they do all of this to attract people and create a market for them to charge companies to advertise.

It's a brilliant model, and just about everyone benefits, including the paying companies who use their advertising channels properly.

Google really is a great company.  I tell people this often, and I mean it each time.

Google+ is the newest thing from Google, a response to competition from social media platforms, like Facebook.
Google+: If you were to ask me or many people what is "wrong" with Google+, it would probably not produce a long list of problems.

However, there is a more relevant question to ask:

Question: If Google+ was the first thing introduced by Google (meaning that the company had NO other products--only Google+), is the product SO good that you would consider switching from using Facebook or something similar to using Google+ for your social media platform or social media marketing?

We all have our own answers, and I will provide mine momentarily.

Google+ offers something that the Facebook does not offer.  That is the ability to separate your e-contacts into separate categories.

In Facebook, EVERYONE is your "Friend."

The problem with that is most people we know are a little less than friends, and we do not want to share all of the same things with them as we want to share with our closest friends.

Google+ provides a way of separating each into different categories of contacts: Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following (borrowed from Twitter), and you can even create your own customized groups.

So Google+ technically offers an improvement over Facebook and other social media platforms.

Google +1 Button is an easy way to endorse something, which takes less time than writing a comment.
Like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, they provide an easy way to show approval of something on the Web with its "+1" button.

I guess this feature is okay.  It seems like we already have an opportunity to endorse things we like by clicking on similar buttons from Twitter, Digg, Facebook, and many more.  This just seems to be one more button to click, which is not hard, but it is sort of annoying and--from the user's perspective--seemingly pointless.

However, is the Google+ user experience SO much better than what people on Facebook already experience?

Only SEO Savvy People Are Coming to Use Google+

I see all sorts of people who understand SEO coming over to create Google+ profiles, including me.

Those of us who understand SEO realize that Google has the power to influence search results, and it has bribed us to come to use it by offering things like having our pictures included beside search results.  They also show results from our Google+ connections before they show the "real" search results.

For many of us, we resent Google forcing Google+ down our collective throats.  Heaven forbid we turn down an opportunity to be one of the first results on a Google search, and they know that many of us will respond to them from this fear.

People Already Have a Ton of Things on Facebook

Google+ wants to be a replacement for Facebook, but I do not think that is going to happen.

Normal, non-SEO oriented, people are not going to make the move from Facebook to Google+.

I have plenty of things that document what I think of Facebook personally.  (My website even says that I probably will not respond to Facebook messages...if that says anything.)

So many people have so much information on Facebook and enjoy it.  They're not looking for social media alternatives.
However, I still see Facebook as something sort of permanent for, at least, two (2) reasons:
  1. Not Enough Improvement to Induce Change
  2. Too Much Information is Already There
1.  Not Enough Improvement to Induce Change

In the book "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin, he remarked that most people are not looking for reasons to change aspirin brands, and the "improvements" will not be enough for most people to consider changing.  Google+ does not offer nearly as many "fun" activities attached to it as Facebook does.

Facebook has all sorts of interactive games that are easy, engaging, and addictive.  Plus, most of their Friends are on Facebook.

Google+ does not, yet, create as good of an overall experience as Facebook does.  Google+ certainly is not a BETTER experience, not enough to make people want to change.

2.  Too Much Information is Already There

There is a programming language called FORTRAN, and it is a horrible language from the 1950's or so.  It was lousy then, and it is even lousier today.  Despite that, there are STILL many things programmed in FORTRAN.  Why?  There were just too many things that were programmed in FORTRAN, and it would just be too complicated to change these things into other--better--programming languages.

Facebook is the same way.  There are way too many people who have put way too much time into their Facebook account, and many of these people do not care--at all--about getting SEO benefits.  They are just using Facebook for fun--not to get search result rankings.

People just have too much information and too many "Friends" on Facebook to transfer them all into Google+, especially if they are not getting an experience that is so much better that it is obvious to them--and their Friends--why moving will be worthwhile.

Google+ will continue to gain momentum, because it is really big and has a lot of influence over SEO people who are interested in search engine result positions (SERPs).

However, it would not be good enough for any of us to "move" if Google+ didn't come from Google.

What are your thoughts?  Am I miscalculating or misunderstanding anything?

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  1. When G+ first came out, I was really excited. I think it did a lot to make Facebook a better platform as well. Now that a little time's gone by though, I think you're right. There's not going to be a mad rush of people leaving Facebook to start G+. The big advantage is SEO. It ranks high in searches. It makes good marketing sense, but I don't see it gaining that broad popularity.

  2. Thanks, Matt. I should have responded here sooner than I have.

    I think that you give a good summary. It WILL be great for SEO, but Google+ is not a threat to replace Facebook.


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