The Internet is a buzz with opinions about the likelihood of success or failure for Google+. After feeling firmly settled on one side of the argument I would read another article or think through more clearly the applications and completely change my point of view. In the end, my opinion is that, yes, Google+ could become the next big social network site.
I predict that the combination of Google name recognition, functionality borrowed from other popular sites, and innovative information sharing and privacy settings will eventually help Google+ succeed.
The name Google is a powerful one. I found this interactive timeline to be very informative and reminded me just how long Google has been a part of my life. It helps me find nearly anything I can think of online, it can translate pages or phrases or words in 40 languages, it can help me shop for products and compare prices, it helps me find directions and print maps and allows me to do all of this both on my PC and my Android phone. My personal view is that if Google has such a profound presence in my own life, others must feel this way also. If that is the case then a new venture from a company we already know and trust is likely to become a tool we at least try and probably adopt into our already Googled lives.
Google also took the time to understand the successful social networking sites of today, namely Twitter and Facebook. Do you want to follow someone and don’t care if they “friend” you back? That option from Twitter was included in Google+. Do you want to see updates from friends that aren’t limited to 140 characters? That option is available with Google+ as well. According to Alexandra Reid of Francis Moran and Associates, Google+ appears to be closely related to both Facebook and Twitter but offers functionality that helps it stand out as well.
It seems that the idea behind Google+ is to allow for more control on security and information sharing by following friends online and placing groups of people into “circles”. If you want to share information with work friends, or just family you select that group. You could share the photos of your Friday night out with just your friends to be sure that your boss and your mother don’t send disapproving notes. Another feature is that a user is allowed to “hang out” with a group of friends in a video chat. Instead of the formality of a Skype one on one interaction, a group of friends or co-workers or family members can hang out over video.
While I’m sure many will judge the success of Google+ by the number of users who sign up and perhaps by the number of users who decrease their Facebook and Twitter activity each day, I agree with Ruud Hein that success will come in changing the way users communicate with their friends and access the rest of the Internet. This may be a more difficult measure but one that is probably more accurate.
What do you think? Vote and see what others believe to be the future of Google+.