August 23, 2011 | In: Technology

Why Google Plus Has Already Failed

In the past few months, I have read many articles on Google’s new innovation, Google plus. Apparently, with Google plus, you can connect with friends, share photos, stories, and other nonsense about yourself, that nobody cares about, except you, your wife (if you have one), and your mother (if she uses a PC). Sharing photos and stories about yourself? Now where have I heard this before? Isn’t this similar to Facebook? In fact, isn’t this just a Facebook clone?

It actually is. Apparently, Google is determined to create a competition for Facebook no matter what, and they think that by offering “Angry Birds” and other useless games on their platform they will undermine Facebook’s efforts to rule the Internet and become the world’s most visited website. Not only that, someone at Google (Larry Page, maybe?) seriously thinks that Google Plus is a decent competition to Facebook (or maybe is a Facebook replacement). Apparently, no one at Google wants to face the harsh truth: Google lost the battle of Social Networks, and Facebook is here to stay (well, unless Google buys it for something like a $100 billion dollars – the same ransom amount that the world had to pay Dr. Evil to stop him from taking over – or destroying – the world).

Now I haven’t used Google Plus before (and neither did any of my friends, well some of my not very close friends have used it, but only for experimentation), and I don’t expect to ever use it. The thing is Google claims to currently have 30 million users (or even more). Well, guess what, these are the gmail users, or the users with a Google account. I have taken a look at Google Plus myself (went to the homepage), and I didn’t know what Google wanted, or what is this at first glance, and I consider myself to have a decent technical background. Well, apparently I don’t!

Here’s how I think Google Plus has already failed:

- Google Plus seems to have been developed by a very young geek. It doesn’t look professional, and yet it’s very complicated.
- The only chance that for Google Plus to survive is to steal Facebook users, for good, and I don’t see this happening, at least in the next 5 years (I suspect Google will drop this stupid idea in a year from now)
- Google Plus is hailed by many solid Internet resources, the same ones that hailed Google wave and Google Buzz (both are now dead projects – the former was supposedly created to compete with Facebook and the latter with Twitter).
- A solid evidence proving that Google Plus has failed is by looking at the social activity of any post, for example, this is the social activity of an article on Bloomberg:

Figure 1: Facebook vs. Google Plus – Notice that the article was recommended/liked (both recommend and like are the same thing) 157 times, while it was only plus1′d 6 times. This says a lot about the activity of Google’s network.

- Although Google is trying very hard to promote it by adding the +1 (an identical clone of Facebook’s like feature) next to each search result (or even advertisement), I suspect that all these +1s will only attract spammers, rather than real people.

I think the best thing to lure people into using Google Plus is to pay them money to migrate from Facebook (and maybe pay them extra for every friend they convince into migrating to Google plus). And even then, they will take the money and just go back to using Facebook.

I wish that Google can listen to all its investors: “stick to enhancing your search algorithm, do something innovative in the search area, and stop obsessing with Facebook and cloning other websites, it didn’t work before, it won’t work now, and it won’t work in the future”.

6 Responses to Why Google Plus Has Already Failed

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Kade

August 23rd, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I think Google views this as competing with Microsoft more so than Facebook. I think the real target is Microsoft Office. If they can get their users tied in to a social network that easily provides access to Google Docs, etc. they will make a big dent in Microsoft’s cash cow.

Also, Google sees facebook as a major threat to their cash cow, that being advertising revenue. Facebook is set to make a major blow to Google if they were to develop a publisher network for adds similar to Google’s Adsense.

Any way you look at it there is a lot of metrics that come in to the scenario. I agree with you overall though that it’s going to fail/has failed. I used it for about 2 weeks and left. Too cumbersome and not easy to use. No way my Mom would ever use it.

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Fadi El-Eter

August 23rd, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hi Kade,

While I think Google really hates Microsoft, I do not think that this is the aim of the project. I think they’re after Facebook. I agree with the Adsense clone, I think I’ve written an article before, actually I did write an article before about it, here it is: http://fadi.el-eter.com/facebook-advertising-vs-google-advertising.html

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lunamystry

November 13th, 2011 at 5:25 am

I think google plus may actually compete with facebook and even possibly make facebook go the way of the myspace. Why?

Docs, Reader, Gmail, Android, Chrome, Youtube and Web search.

I watch a lot of youtube from time to time, its a convient place for websites to put videos. I do my web searches mainly with Ducduck go but sometimes the whole google cache/tracking is actually an advantage. I don’t use chrome and I hate that it actually feels more polished than firefox and I am hoping to get an android phone one day. Gmail is my main email and I haven’t found anything better than Reader for web feeds. Integrate Google plus into these products and people will slowly start using google plus.

If for example the only option in Youtube to share a video is through google plus and other things have to be configured (i think this is the case for reader) and they appear in a hidden send option. Great chrome integration so for those who use Chrome always have that bar present to allow you to always share stuff. Change the way you share on Docs such that you have an option to share only with a certain circle. Give companies a little control with apps to maybe limit accounts time spent reading posts or something. Then the only way to see posts is to be registered on google plus. You will be using google plus all over the web which is what facebook wants. Google already has the web presence I just think they need to be careful how they get users onto google plus. So saying it failed is way to early.

What if google actually isn’t competing with facebook but creating the proper google operating system? A truly web based operating system.

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Fadi El-Eter

November 14th, 2011 at 8:27 am

I think between all of these Google products that you have mentioned above, Android is the most important (after search, of course). Android will allow Google to take over the mobile market. This dominance will allow Google to make money through ads and revenue from the Android market place.

Google should focus on Android and web search, but as for competing with Facebook, I think it still doesn’t have a chance, and I don’t people want to give Google extra dominance on their lives.

I agree with you about the power of their other products, but the problem with Google is that they’re not very good at integration.

Until this moment, I still feel that Google+ has failed…

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David Blanar

January 12th, 2012 at 10:49 am

Just a suggestion but perhaps use the service before making your conclusion?

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Will D

February 19th, 2012 at 4:41 am

The reason Google Plus didn’t make it is because they burned their publicity on a closed beta only a handful of people could use (everyone else had to wait for the indeterminate launch date which ended up being about six months). It was to build up anticipation but frustrated people and had a counterproductive effect. No one wants to be “uninvited” to a social network everyone is talking about.

It’s not a terrible idea it’s just facebook is too much of a contender to take head-on in social networking. Maybe they could make a networking site based upon interests with people who don’t already know each other, but no one is going to manage two social networks with the same friends.

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