Thursday, September 29, 2011

Did the Cool Kids Just Arrive at the Google+ Party?

In an update to my comments last week, it now appears that we are seeing the big blip of growth in subscribers to Google+ now that it is open to the general public. Several sources are estimating that Google+ has hit the 50 million user mark and is growing at 4% a day. (PC Magazine: Google+ usage skyrockets, hits 50 million users) This is well and good, but my thoughts on it reaching the tipping point still stand.
 The next few weeks will be a litmus test for the social network. Will the opening of Google+ to the 'general public' spur it past the "must engage daily" tipping point? Just as important is the announcement of the new API Hangout. Allowing third-party application development could certainly kick the place into high gear. new features are being launched as well that hold a great deal of potential.  
 The rapid growth must continue unabated for months for it to reach the density of Facebook. Then it must work to build out the content and depth of information that makes Facebook so interesting. It is true that Google+ should not strive to replace Facebook, but to be a new and fresh alternative. As we mentioned last week, it is certainly appealing more to the media and is being embraced in some unique and fun ways. The Developers will be the ones who play the key role in this next step. The Applications they launch and the linkages they form with brands and content sites will either propel Google+ toward being the "must visit first" site or an languishing also ran to Facebook.
One application that I am sure some enterprising developers are working on is a "Transfer your Facebook content to Google+." This type of app will be important with many. Leaving the social media world they have built is not a comforting thought.

My initial love of the style and interactivity of Google+ has abated a bit. I had also started to lose a bit of joy for Facebook, that is until Timeline was launched. Now my excitement for Facebook is renewed. I believe we will see a protracted battle for users and daily engagement numbers. The real war will be fought on the ad revenue side. It might be a protracted battle, but I believe we will see a mass decline in usage in one or the other platform should a clear winner in the media emerge.

Cool kids want to be with other cool kids after all. The name brands that associate with Google+ and Facebook will help tip that decision.

Stay tuned. It's going to be an interesting ride...

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