With the launch of G+, there seem to have been a lot of conversations about “What does Mark Zuckerburg (or Facebook) think?”, “Is Google+ better than Facebook?” and “Should you now sell your Facebook shares at 100M?”. These are probably the wrong questions to ask. G+ is not a “Facebook Killer.”
While I acknowledge that Google certainly sees Facebook as one of its top opponents, I would submit that G+ Circles and +1 is more of a flank attack on Facebook’s “unsorted” social graph and “like” system that will be played out over the next several years. Facebook still has an almost unassailable position in two areas: Photos and Games. Furthermore, Facebook has grown and thrived outside the purview of Google’s search. Facebook status updates, activities, likes — can’t and don’t need to be read and indexed by Google. In short, with 72 percent of the US population signed up, Facebook ain’t going away anytime soon and at the very least will be used to tag photos of your friends, lurk on other people’s profiles, and play games. (It’s worth noting, though, that Google has invested in Zynga, which could be interesting for the G+ platform down the road.)
The real battle is between G+ and Twitter.
The similarities between G+ and Twitter are undeniable. Both provide a venue for real-time posts which are open and indexable to the world wide web (as opposed to Facebook which has a closed system). Both are social and are made for potentially viral conversations. Both involve asymmetric relationships which allow power users to quickly and easily gain a mass following.
In fact, if you look at some the design choices Google has made, G+ is actually a “full frontal” assault on Twitter.
Here are 5 reasons why G+ will win over Twitter:
1. G plus Gmail equals One Hundred Million Users. Idealab CEO Bill Gross predicts that Google+ will go from 0 to 100,000,000 users faster than any other service in history. The killer social graph has always been your email list. With 200 million Gmail users, G+ hitting those numbers is a very real possibility. As G+ builds up even more momentum and the digerati start having close to the same amount of followers on Twitter as G+, I think you’ll see a major shift to G+.
3. Twitter’s 140-Character Limit is Passé. Twitter’s 140-character limit was cute for awhile, but it is limiting to those that want to express themselves (more). That is what gave rise to Tumblr (which G+ will also destroy). With G+, I can freely share my thoughts, photos, and videos within posts; I don’t have to direct my followers to links. Longer posts + rich media in the stream = more comments + more followers.
5. Hangout & Google Takeover. Hangout is held to be a game changer by many a tech pundit. I can easily see tweens using this feature for hours on end or using it to conduct my next business conference call. However, the real strength of G+ over Twitter, is actually “Google.” As Google further integrates Android, Chrome, Calendar, Picasa, Talk, Youtube and some yet unknown disruptive service into G+ — it will be only a matter of time before it is game over for Twitter. Convenience and accessibility always win.
Of course Google is not infallible, especially when it comes to social. We only have to look at Orkut and Buzz to witness that. But G+ seems to have the pieces in place to make a serious run. And with Google Founder Larry Page back at the helm, we’re inclined to believe that the third time’s a charm. On another note, is it just coincidence that the last remaining Twitter founder left the company the same day Google+ was launched? Just sayin’…
The opinions of this commentary are solely those of Stephen Liu.
Leave a comment (cancel)