It was around this time last year that Google launched its much-rumoured social network; they called it ‘Google+’ (Google Plus). The social network launched to huge hype in the tech community with tech nerds everywhere battling for invites. It appeared though that it was only these tech nerds (with me included) that actually wanted to sign-up for the service. Soon after launching, 10 million had signed-up and this number was growing by over half a million every day. Looking at the stats over 70% of these early sign-ups were young males.
As of April this year there are around 200 million users, far from Facebook’s 900 million, although Facebook is 8 years old now.
From these basic stats it seems that Google+ has been quite successful so far but digging a bit deeper and the opposite is very true. Despite the large number of users, for a relatively new network anyway, it’s apparent that many of these users aren’t particularly active with the average user spending just over 3 minutes a month, yes just 3 minutes per month, on the site. When you compare this number to Facebook where the average user spends well over 7 hours a month on the site it’s obvious that people simply are not using the new social network.
I know people will be saying ‘it’s only a year old, give it a chance’ and although this is true I still don’t think the service will be successful and this is why:
People have invested too much of their time into Facebook. I joined Facebook in 2007 and have pretty much logged on every day since, uploading and being tagged in thousands of photos, finding hundreds of friends, sharing videos, links and god knows what else. Why, therefore, would I or anybody else want to do all this again for Google+? I know some people, and Google, are saying that it’s not a copy of Facebook but let’s be honest, it is.
That brings me to my second and third points. Ask anybody who isn’t particularly tech savvy if they have heard of Google+. Their response will either be: ‘Yes, it’s just like Facebook’ or ‘No, I don’t have a clue what it is’. When I suggested to my boss, who knows nothing about technology, that we should set-up a Google+ for the shop he asked ‘What’s different from Facebook and Twitter?’ I couldn’t find an answer. His next response was that he doesn’t have the time, patience or willingness to sign-up and run another social network. From my experience this mirrors the thoughts of the majority of people.
As an extension of these points I also think that Google+ has come along at the wrong time. Twitter and Facebook are experiencing amazing growth around the world so people aren’t really looking for another social network and why would anybody sign-up for something that none of their friends use.
The fact that Google have put out Television ads for the network proves that it’s not particularly successful. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the other social networks have never, as far as I’m aware, used any form of advertising and generally get members by word of mouth – the way social networks work.
I know some people and businesses have had great success with Google+ which is absolutely brilliant. I never want to see anything fail but I just don’t see Google+ being for the masses in the same way that Facebook and Twitter are.
If you use Google+ regularly or have any thoughts or comments please do express them by posting a comment below.