I received a Google+ invite on June 29th 2011, aka Launch Day, or the day on which Google rather brilliantly used restricted supply to drive the release of their much buzzed about social media platform. Not only does the platform organize all social communications easily within Google, but it also builds a comprehensive personal and behavioral database that can be sold to anyone who wants it. (Note: Facebook is more or less doing the very same thing.)
Much has been made of this battle of the behemoths, Google v. Facebook. (I’m sure we all recall the backfire when Facebook hired a PR firm to discredit Google on the basis of their privacy policies?) It’s a war for ad dollars, people. Google is armed with search. Facebook with social.
It’s all very dramatic isn’t it? …A sort of neither-can-live-while-the-other-survives scenario.
Facebook killed MySpace.
MySpace killed Friendster.
But Google v. Facebook is a different story. Both have billions of dollars, some of the top tech talent in the world, and established, overlapping audiences.
So who will win?
Well, we’re now two weeks into Google+, and it appears like the service may be in for an uphill battle. Only twenty or so status updates have been posted from my circles, mostly from the same people. It’s true that Google+ has the advantage of accounts centralization and the neat Circles feature, but Facebook has my habits, my friends and 403 of my photos over the past four years. Over the weekend, I thought on uploading a photo from my iPhone to Google+– just as I do with Facebook. Not just yet, it seems.
Also, the do-it-all model makes some people uncomfortable because, frankly, that’s a lot of trust to instill in Google. There is certainly a counter-argument for centralization, but there are advantages to using different brands and services. In a nutshell: can Google really do it all, and do it all really well?
Still, I’m not placing any bets just yet. It’s possible that Google will build a better product that will gain steam as the service expands. In fact, it’s more than possible. Like many people, I’m already logged into the Google platform every day, both in the office and at home.
For the time being though, Mark Zuckerberg seems to hold the cards– or at least all the friends.