In defense of Google+

Is there a more asinine argument than who will “win” the social networking war?  Social Media is NOT “winner take all.”

These conversations about Facebook dominating Google+ or how much more important Pinterest is than Google+ are ridiculous.

These conversations revolve around several metrics that are used to define value: Time on Site and Unique Visitors.

Those are the metrics that advertisers use to determine value because they equate to impressions which equate to ad revenue.  Let’s flip the equation and instead focus on utility, that is, the value that the site has to the users.

Utility

Let’s start with a simple question:

In an unofficial poll of my Facebook, Twitter and Google+ networks, the ONE function that Facebook has is: sharing information with friends and family.  THAT’S IT!  No one gave me a single answer outside of that.  If you really think about it, Facebook is a massive one trick pony and it is undeniable that they are currently the best at that one trick.

On the other hand, if you think about your day from start to finish how many different Google products do you use?  Let’s just say that search is the ONLY Google product that you use, can you honestly imagine the web without it?  Are you desperately seeking an alternative in search engine technology?  Whether you are looking for a someone’s bio, the menu for a take-out pizza place or the phone number for your daughter’s school, you are turning to Google…not Facebook.

To make the competition about Google+ vs Facebook is to ignore the reality that Google+ is part of Google!  This is not a scrappy upstart, this is a component of the most utilized site on the web.  Google is the pathway to virtually everything for a majority of people on the web.  Facebook is still only about friends.  If you disagree, please tell me what else you use Facebook for: Facebook Poll.

Google+: The Facebook Copycat

Another statement that is often uttered around the web is that Google+ is just copying Facebook.

For those that think that, let me ask you this…WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN OVER THE LAST DECADE?  This is Social Media, EVERYONE copies EVERYONE.

  • That news feed you’ve got on Facebook? Thank you Twitter.
  • The check in feature on Facebook? Thank you Foursquare.
  • The wall?  Thank you MySpace!

It’s the web, copying happens.

So let’s just accept that sites copy other sites and stop pretending that our site is original and unique.

Google+ is not Facebook and seriously, let’s all be thankful for that.

The world doesn’t need another Facebook…one Zuckerberg is plenty for this world.  Google+ is not Facebook, here’s why:

  • Try searching for a topic on Facebook and then on Google+, see what happens…only one of them returns relevant information and people
  • Privacy is in OUR hands thanks to circles (which Facebook promptly tried to mimic)
  • Your data can be extracted and deleted from Google+
  • The +1 button, unlike the Like button, has actual search implications
  • Hangouts vs Facebook video chat, you be the judge about which video conferencing tool is more powerful
  • Games are separated out from the main stream on Google+ (No I don’t want to be in your Mafia family, or water your crops)
  • You don’t need to authorize apps to have access to your social security number, birthday, entire social graph and shoe size to watch a video.
Google+ is more like Google 2.0, so rather than try to make it into Google’s Facebook, why not appreciate it for what it is?

Google+ and the “Ghost Town” Argument

This one infuriates me!

“Google+ is a ghost town.”

This is often said by someone who has not spent more than 5 minutes on Google+, doesn’t want to even see Google+ for what it is and would rather be a close minded hater.

Google+ is not a ghost town, your friends just aren’t all there.  So instead of using that as a reason to retreat to the safety of your Farmville, why not give Google+ a few days?  I’ve found some truly fascinating people on Google+.  I’ve found photographers, cooks, foodies, athletes and thought leaders.  In this way, Google+ is more like Twitter and less like Facebook.  Spend an hour or two populating circles with things you are interested in before declaring Google+ dead.

If Google+ is too quiet for you, it means that you haven’t put in the effort to find people.  But then again you may just be used to the noise on Facebook, so Google+ may seem too quiet.

And the winner is…

I prefer Google+ but that doesn’t mean that Facebook is going anywhere.  Most of you reading this probably prefer Facebook, because Grandma isn’t going to “get” Google+.

Whatever your preference is, that’s fine, but let’s stop making these simplistic arguments.  No one is going to win this whole thing and Google+ doesn’t need to be anything more than what it is, a fantastic social layer on top of Google that is less than one year old.