Yesterday, I commented on Dannielle Blumenthal’s “5 Reasons Why Facebook will beat Google+ Easily” In essence: I disagree.
Here are Dannielle’s reasons:
Brand: She says “Facebook is about staying connected with friends. Google is about making the world’s data searchable.” But to me, and most people with GMail, Picasa, Blogger, and Reader accounts, (to say nothing of our Android phones!) Google is much more our portal to all things digital. Google is about storing content and then accessing that content easily. It absolutely is about connecting: with our assets, with our applications, with our family and friends. So a social hub that is built by Google makes total sense.
Monopoly: Dannielle writes “People are going to resent or ignore the company’s attempt to elbow out Facebook just like we resent it when one close friend tries to eliminate another one from our lives” I don’t resent competition. I reward it. If Facebook had integrated my Picasa albums, had built in applications for collaborative work, had allowed me to access all the content from facebook more easily and built a search engine through which I could find content I had posted years before, I’d be happier with it. If Google can offer me that, it’s not elbowing out Facebook, it’s offering me a better alternative.
Insanity: Danielle writes “The definition of which is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Examples: Google Wave. Google Buzz. Orkut. Knol. Face it, Google: Social networking is not your thing” But Buzz was not Wave. And Knol is not Orkut. I appreciate a company that iterates and that makes different mistakes, each time getting closer. (And I’d point out that Orkut is still dominant in Brazil, with 75% of all internet users there maintaining a profile.)
Enemy: I’m not entirely sure what Danielle means by this one. She points out that Zuckerberg has an account on Google+, which make sense. But I’m fairly certain that Sergy has a Facebook account, too. So until I understand this argument better, I’ll leave it alone.
Pravacy: Danielle writes “Google doesn’t seem to get that people actually care about privacy and worry about being tracked online, especially when it comes to their personal email.” All I can say here is that Facebook has its own shoddy record on privacy.
But here are the two reasons why Google+ will succeed (and I’m not saying that Facebook is toast, but it will need to step up its game or change it, that’s for sure):
1. Built in User Base. This is necessary, but not sufficient for success. With all the people who are already using Google products, they have achieved the critical mass needed for success to be a viable option. New social networks have to work up to the user base Google already enjoys. So they have that prerequisite out of the way. As I say, it’s not enough to succeed, but without it, failure is all but certain.
2. Many Layers of Connectivity. I’ve been writing about the difference between connectivity and social media quite a bit recently (including here on GovLoop). And the difference is that connectivity subsumes social media and moves past it, to encompass our ability to access non-social assets. Google added a social layer and a single point-of-entry to the assets of ours that we had already entrusted to it. I have been using Google to store my pictures, for example, through Picasa (soon to be relaunched as Google Photos). I know many people who have been using Blogger, and many more who use GMail. Fewer people use Google Docs, though I think more will come on board. And Google seems to be tieing all of these together through Google+
Danielle is correct in worrying about the privacy and monopoly aspects of this integration. But I think the answer here is not to reject the offering, but to insist upon clear and fair business practices.