Social Media is possibly the fastest growing area of the internet right now. With Facebook having over 750 million active users and Twitter with over 56 million active users, it only made sense for Google to want to get in on the action.
Google+ is not their first attempt, but it may be their last.
Google + Social Media
Google has had a few attempts at a social media realm. You can look at a chat within Gmail to be one of their first, and very popular, social tools. They then added a follow feature to their Reader program which did allow users to see what items on the internet someone found interesting, but not much personal information like Facebook or Twitter. Then came Buzz and Wave, both of which soon lost appeal.
Now it looks like the same problems they experienced in the past are reappearing in Google+.
The Problem with Google+
One of the main problems that Google+, Buzz, and Wave all share is what I consider the “closed playground” problem. Many of Google’s apps are in beta version (even Gmail is still considered in beta!) and have an invite only entrance policy. I understand the appeal of being one of the first, but in a social network that never helps.
Would you want to be the only one at a party? Talking to yourself? This is the problem with Google+. Unless a larger number of my friends and family join, as well as log in regularly, I’m just posting to myself.
Google should have made Google+ open to anyone with a Gmail account and they would have seen a larger engagement from the beginning.
Engagement is the second major problem with Google+. Being the new kid on the block, it’s difficult for people to switch right away. It’s common for me to check my Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter first thing in the morning; Google+ doesn’t even come to my mind. As Google+ becomes something I forget more and more about, the sooner it will be I’ll cancel my account.
Can Google Still Save Google+?
I can see the attempts Google is making to get me to check in regularly. I get emails whenever I’m added to someone’s circle, but that’s it. No emails about when items are posted or shared. And I have my Gmail up almost the entire day. What a great opportunity to inform me of these items. If spam is a concern, let me create a setting in which an email will be sent to me once or twice a day informing me of all the new posts. This would be a good reminder of what Google+ offers and get me to regularly engage.
My final concern is more of a personal preference, but something I think many would agree with. The stream of information in Google+ doesn’t stay in chronological order by post but rather by comment.
For example, Felicia Day posts something at 10am. I see this post at 10:15am. I then check my Google+ at 12:30pm and her post is still at the top because a new comment has been posted by someone not in my circles. Any posts after that require me to scroll down. This makes it difficult to stay up to date on what people are posting and almost does a Digg-like effect of having the most commented posts stay on top. I think that’s a great idea, but offer that as a link on the side as Most Commented.
Google has made some great apps and changed the way the internet is used many times, however Google+ is going to fade away soon (just like Google Wave and Buzz) if these problems aren’t dealt with right away.
Are You Using Google+?
What do you think? Are you using Google+? If so, what do you like/dislike about this new app?