Google+ deserves its own space rather than usurping Facebook or TwitterPosted 4 July 2011 by Sandy Cosser
Google+ has been around long enough now for people to start making reasonable comparisons as opposed to speculation. We’re over the Facebook-killer stage and now looking at other social networks, although I personally still hold out hope for an anti-Facebook revolution. According to Peter Yared, however, Facebook’s status is secure; it’s Twitter that needs to watch out.
For one thing, Twitter has significantly fewer users than Facebook, which makes the numbers easier to chase, especially for a company that is already as popular as Google.
Secondly, Google and Twitter will be competing on a public privacy setting, as opposed to a private privacy setting, which is how Facebook is defined. What this means is that you can follow anyone on Google+ and Twitter, whereas you have to be accepted to friend people on Facebook.
To be clear, I haven’t yet cracked a nod for Google+ invite. I find this terribly upsetting as I can’t wait to get my hands on it. But, as I understand it, Yared’s reasoning isn’t entirely accurate.
Google+ does offer privacy
Google+ scrapes all your Google contacts to add to its network, but you have to create and populate your social circles. So in a sense this is private. You choose which circle you want to communicate with. You keep your communications and shares within that circle. That is not, technically speaking, public.
Ok, so there is an option to allow public posts, in the Twitter sense of the word. And maybe you can follow anyone you want and read their public posts, but the point is that you don’t have to. You can keep it as private and cosy as you like. It’s this option that sets Google+ apart from Facebook and Twitter and which makes it a threat to both.
If you’re completely zealous about it you can call Google+ a threat to Skype as it allows instant real-time chats with your friends. It even allows video chats, which is so very cool.
(Facebook has scheduled a special event for Wednesday 6 July, and speculation is rife that it could have to do with its own video enabled chat feature.)
Twitter is too difficult
To support his argument, Yared also cites Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who said that Twitter is too difficult for “normal” people.
I’m not sure why he would think that. I’m guessing he either has a very low opinion of people in general and thinks they’re too stupid to tie their own shoes without hurting themselves, or finds Twitter difficult to use and wants to make himself feel better by generalising his problem to the whole world.
What it is about Twitter that is so perplexing?
If you know please tell me, because I don’t have a clue.
Google is an ego soother
Let’s take the challenge of Twitter use out of the equation.
Yared starts to make sense when he says that Google+ is more attractive to power Twitter users because it’ll play to their egos. It’ll boost Google rankings, stroke online reputations and widen reach. This is because it’ll connect to every single Google application there is. And Google has a lot of applications, not to mention users by the bucket load.
Is Google+ going to outdo Facebook?
No. At least not for a good long while (after it gets over that hurdle that has tripped up all other Google social features – participation).
Is it going to kill Twitter?
No. Twitter offers a unique service that serves a vital self-validation purpose. I don’t think people will leave it for Google+, I think they’ll divide their time between the two.
I think that Google+ will provide a cosier, more intimate space for online social networkers. I think it has appeal for people who like a bit of privacy while flirting with public appeal. It’s the best of all online social worlds.
Given that I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, this is all still speculation. So I’ll have to let you know some other time what I think of its business applications – if there are any.