Monday, September 19, 2011

A beta launch that may end in failure for google+

I believe google+ is headed for an also ran status against Facebook.   I wish I were wrong but I don't see anything dramatic that would cause people to come to google+ in droves.  (Well, they could, if Zuckerberg says something silly about users' intelligence and privacy again)

I think the biggest mistake was to launch google+ without a complete superset of features of facebook  plus the things google wanted. 

Think about it, if the experience is not seamless and does not do it the way facebook users think it should, why would they shift? Unequivocally, their target is facebook users and not new users.  if it's going to woo them, the system had better be complete for them to use it like before and better.  Unlike Gmail, which was in beta for quite some time where features were slowly added/removed before removing the covers, google+ should have been compelling in all respects to sway facebook users from the get go.

Apart from circles and privacy thingy(which sort of backfired with their 'real names' banning fiasco), what exactly is compelling about google+?  On the other hand, if they had apps on facebook(why not?), Ipads, Android phones, Google Apps, Wallet and Merchant services all tied together at the google+ launch, maybe they'd have had a better chance. Currently, curiosity will drive things for a while but most users would drift back to facebook because that's where their friends are and most importantly, facebook does put in the same features as google+, probably the next month or so.  All the less reason to switch to google+.

I don't see how they can improve unless they give some feature to clone the current facebook user data and import into google+ with the least disruption to the user(I mean, the  facebook user allows for some sort of 'import' to their google+ account).  Or just buy Ebay with its Paypal system and turn it into one huge noisy marketplace.

An individual datapoint:  I'm on google+ but not in facebook (where I probably won't register) but all my friends and colleagues are on facebook.  Apart from a few who created their ids(I suspect, just to lock in their name profile in google+), pretty much no activity happens in my google+ account.

Which is saying something about me, my circle or google+ ! :-)