Can Google+ Succeed Merely By Being Not Facebook?
from the it's-possible dept
The current key difference with Google+ is in the "Circles" functionality, which better lets you compartmentalize who you're sharing with. Rather than sharing with all your "friends," Google lets you classify them into different groups, and makes it easy to choose who sees what. It's one of those features that makes you wonder why Facebook never offered it. It also has a funky "hangout" feature, that basically makes video conferencing quite simple and convenient. Some, of course, will complain about yet another centralized social networking service, but as Rick Falkvinge points out, that really doesn't matter to most people. And, to Google's credit, it makes it abundantly clear within Google+ that you can export your data and delete your account at any time. In fact, the delete button is so easy to find, I got nervous that I'd accidentally click it (though, I'm guessing there's a confirmation step somewhere).
That said, there are obviously still lots of challenges. Actually getting people to use the service is a big one (especially while Google is still trying its increasingly tiresome "you need an invite" launch method). Separately, I'm curious to see how well this plays with others. Will developers be able to build apps for it? How will those work? Will other services be able to integrate? The first thing I did was look to see if I could feed my Twitter feeds and Techdirt blog posts into my profile, but I couldn't figure out a way to do either (the tools may be there, but I couldn't find them). And, just in general, I think plenty of people feel a level of fatigue around the idea of starting up with another social network (even if Google makes it easy). I could definitely see Google+ not getting the kind of traction it really needs. But, I will say, that unlike some of its other attempts (especially Wave), my initial impression was that this is something worth playing with some more, and it's something I could see myself using regularly. And, to be honest, a part of that is just the feeling that it's not Facebook.