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Google has been playing catch up in the social networking space for a while now. Google+ is its latest attempt to offer a compelling social product that complements Google search, Gmail and the many other products/services it offers. Although only a few people currently have access to Google+, let's talk about the bigger picture. In our "Discussion of the Week," we want to know: Can Google succeed at social networking? Is it in their DNA? What results will be needed for people to consider Google+ a success? The floor is open - feel free to take this where you want, lots of different angles we can go.
Comments11 Comments  

Comments

Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Perhaps another question/angle I could've and should've added to the above is, Do regular people want a social network from Google? I'm not sure they do. But what Google's done better with + than they have with the other social products is integrate it into the new toolbar that stays on screen every time you do a search. It's much more accessible than Buzz, Hotpot, etc.

Still, I'm not sure how wide the adoption will be. I tend to think Google+ will be to Facebook/Twitter what Bing is to Google: A 2nd/3rd option for most people, and the primary choice of few.

Is that a success?



Avatar Moderator
from Jill 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think if it's good enough, and easy enough to use, they could. Doesn't mean they're going to kill Twitter or Facebook, but they may be another option.

Just look at gtalk. Everyone I know uses that now instead of MSN or AIM, so who knows.



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from joshuatitsworth 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Google wants to succeed in the social space like Facebook does in the search space. The problem is they have to change the way they are viewed by the general public. But the general public goes to Facebook to have a social network and go to Google to search. So I'd have to say they don't want a social network from Google, if anything they'll say they want improved search results from Google.



Avatar Administrator
from Michelle 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think for Google+ to be truly successful, there needs to be an opportunity in the social space, that there just isn't right now. Facebook is huge, the people that use it, love it. The regular people. I personally hate Facebook, primarily because of their policies and publicly espoused views on privacy. But I'm in the minority. Most people either don't care or are completely oblivious to what is happening with what they share online. So the hundreds of millions of loyal FB users will need an incentive to switch - to abandon their communities at FB and recreate them over at Google. At the moment, there is none.


Is social in their DNA? No. It could happen, and if Google is in it for the long haul and truly, honestly, wants to provide a useful, secure and valuable place for people to socialize and share online - they certainly have the time to develop it. If they really focus on what the normal, average person wants and how the normal, average person behaves socially.  I think that's the achilles heel of Google though - they don't get, at all, the normal average person. They understand data - they don't understand people. Every social undertaking they've launched to date (including this newest) underscores that.


They certainly have the time and money to turn that ship around. I think it would take a hiring spree of a different kind at the plex to really work the problem however.



Avatar Moderator
from Realicity 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I'm of the belief that Social is not in Google's DNA.  They are an algorithmic based entity and that relies on data.  They can gather that data over time to improve their Plus/social platform, but will they do so?

Matt's point about Plus being a 2nd or 3rd option is a good one.  Barring FB falling down with privacy issues or a future platform being to Facebook, what Facebook is now to MySpace, I don't see Google becoming a number one player for non-search professionals.

But, being in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place will still give them a viable platform to monetize, which will mean more to Share Holders than it will to you or me;)



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from bluephoenixnyc 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 2

A great comment making the waves around Twitter was this: Google is fundamentally a utility. Nobody wants to hang out at the electricity company.So the question is will Google be able to build the type of bar/lounge situation for its utility company aesthetic that would entice users? The problem with Buzz and Wave fundamentally was that both were a bit too convoluted for even the early adopters; if you can't hook the early adopters, then the product doesn't stand a chance.



Avatar Moderator
from JulieJoyce 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Like others, I think it will be a secondary option. However, I was wrong about Twitter and Facebook so god knows, I suck at predicting success. I don't think the general public know enough, or care enough, about Google to NOT use something they create so I imagine those that have recently flocked to the other social sites will try this. If it succeeds, my opinion is that it will be because of the popularity of social though, not because they've done it particularly well themselves.



Avatar Moderator
from hugoguzman 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Social networking, search, and the internet age in general is still in its infancy.

Google has plenty of time to figure out how to create a sticky social networking interface and their lead in search is much wider than Facebook's lead in social networking functionality. Never mind the advantage that their share of the mobile phone market affords them.

So yes, I think that Google can succeed and eventually will.



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from tedgoudie 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 1

It depends somewhat on what "succeed" means to Google. Will they overtake Facebook and become THE social site? I don't think that's even in the realm of possibility, and I haven't heard many people who say so. Can Google be happy as the third or fourth largest social network? Perhaps, if their goal is to understand more about social networks and how they can continue to apply social models to their core businesses (search, gmail, YouTube) to increase revenue from those core businesses. As social signals continue to wield more influence over the world of Google, they need to get more and more information to feed the algorithms that control the quality and perceived relevance of SERPs and ads across platforms. If Facebook won't give Google that data, they'll go out and find their own with tools like Google+.



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from RandyP 1028 Days ago #
Votes: 0

If there is an opening for Google in social media, it's due to the adoption of Facebook by "the Rents". The fact that I'm on Facebook (albeit years after my kids) means that it is passe to my kids. Keep an eye on the adoption rate by college kids. 



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from chleeb 1027 Days ago #
Votes: 0

google is becoming too dominant in all important fields. So, they cannot be good everywhere. social networks are NOT in their DNA. but i believe that they will try to integrate it everywhere and use it for social commerce.



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