In the final part of this article we’ll look at the Google+ social network.
Does it offer the kind of features that will see in replace Facebook as the predominant social network in the not-to-distant future? That’s actually a mighty big ask, given that Facebook has been around for a number of years now and has around 700 million users. Google+ is a fledgling platform and is currently available on an invitation-only business. Is there really any way it can ever compete with not just Facebook, but also Twitter and Foursquare, or is it destined to become yet another MySpace?
Google+ Social network
- You can use the “Google+ Bar” that appears at the top of various Google products as your connection to the social network.
- Once you’re signed in, you’ll see your full name or email address displayed with a photo or avatar next to it, to help you identify which account you’re currently signed in to.
- If you’ve enabled multi sign-in, you can sign in to two different Google accounts and switch between them using the Google+ bar.
- When you sign up for Google+, you’re also signing up for Picasa Web Albums, so all photos and videos uploaded to Google+ (including from your phone via Instant Upload) will also be available in Picasa Web Albums.
- You can use the Google +1 button from the stream.
- You can have a ton of friends on Google+. Robert Scoble, the blogger and technical evangelist, quickly added over 1,000.
- The central user interface looks very similar to Facebook: is that intentional or merely just an unfortunate coincidence.
- With Google+, Google adds a “You” link to the recently redesigned black navigation bar across Google properties
- You can apparently view public Google+ content without actually being invited. Currently this only applies to content that has been made public by any given member of the Google+ network, but the boffins are already looking into ways to subvert this.
- China has already banned Google+. Even for the Chinese this is really quick work. In truth though, Google+ isn’t the only social network to get the chop in China: Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare are also ‘banned.’ It should be clarified that the word’ ban’ actually means slowing the application down so that it becomes worse than useless.
- Invitations have been listed on eBay, which really come as too much of a surprise.
- According to the Financial Times article, security might possibly become a major issue as, although you can share something within a closed “Circle,” someone from that circle can then re-share it with anyone, and even make it public.
So will Google+ cut the mustard in the end? Will it knock Facebook off its mighty perch? Certainly not in the short term: this will necessarily have to be a bit of a slow burner. The invitation-only debut was definitely a clever piece of marketing and created the necessary buzz: everyone likes to feel part of something exclusive after all. However, if Google+ really wants to gain a competitive edge over Facebook and other social networks, then it’s going to have to broaden its appeal to the mass market. Maintaining the invitation-only element will not only restrict the numbers joining, but also alienate a lot of potential users. The thing with Google is, although it is often the butt of many a joke, it always seems to come out of tricky situations smelling of roses. Who’s to say it won’t pull the rabbit out of the hat this time too?