Google’s trying again to make a “Facebook killer”. Remember Google Buzz? Google Wave? Those attempts both failed miserably. Google’s ready to try a third time, and the third time’s the charm, right?
Hmmm…maybe not. I was lucky enough to get a Google + Invite the day it launched. I sent invitations to some of my tech-savvy friends, but not all of them could get in. Google declared that it was “at capacity” and could allow more users at a later date.
Obviously, Google is trying to raise some demand, but tactics like this are not wise when you’re trying to build a social network. Google + is a lot like Facebook, in that you can share your thoughts, photos and web links with your friends that use the service. However, if you only have six friends who were allowed into the service, then there isn’t much to look at. It’s like being in a huge auditorium and only the first row is full. Everything you say goes into an echo chamber and you feel more alone than ever.
The main differences between Google + and Facebook is that you can compartmentalize everyone into groups (called Circles), such as Family, Friends, Acquaintances and any other category you can think of. It’s very user-friendly to create the groups, and it solves the problem of adding your mom to your friends list. Another exciting feature of Google + is the “hangout”, which allows users with webcams to create a group video chat. I haven’t used it yet, but it seems like a fun idea for someone like me, who has lots of friends scattered all over the globe.
Other than those two things, it’s pretty much the same as Facebook. Instead of a “like” button, you have a “+1” button, which you click to show your appreciation of a post.
One huge drawback for me is that Google + doesn’t have those games that everyone plays on Facebook. I am addicted to Pet Society, and don’t you DARE try to take it away from me! (Harry Potter theme next week, you guys!)
Based on the few days I have been using Google +, I predict another failure on Google’s part. Trying to launch a social network based on the theory that it’s only for the “cool kids” who got invited is a minus, not a plus. A full public offering would have been best, although I know that’s what Google did with Buzz and that was a huge failure. However, Google + makes sure to show your privacy options up front. The problem with Buzz is that even if you didn’t want to use it, you were forced into it.
Hey, Google, how’s about letting everyone try Google + if they want to? Don’t force everyone into it, but don’t make it an exclusive club for the elite either.