Google+ Me?

When we visited the Google HQ in San Francisco back in May, the employee we met told us that Google+ is Google + You. In other words, its all of Google’s services combined in one account plus a social aspect where you are the center. We were all discussing how it Google+ was just Google’s initiative to tackle Facebook. It was more clear to me that it is actually a consolidation of its services, which I quite like so as to reduce confusion.

It was only until that Google employee told us that it is meant to consolidate Google’s services across the board. That is how it should be labelled and how it should be promoted. Yes, Google+ has many interesting features such as Hangout, following companies you are interested in, recommendations, or the maps. And yes, in my opinion, Google+ is great for the Google Glasses. A seamlessly integrated Google+ experience on the Glasses adds so much value and that is what Google’s goal is with Google+ is, and more emphasis should be on that. Google+ complements many of the other services I use with Google such as YouTube and mail, and yet the Google+ platform also contains a lot of functionality that can improve our social interactions as well with Google+’s fresh user interface. It seems that there is some debate about Google+ because it has come after Facebook, and that many people have already gotten used to the way Facebook looks as a social platform, and many users have alienated the Google+ look. Obviously we look at the +1 button and say “oh look they are copying the likes from Facebook”. In my opinion, it would have been the other way around had Google+ entered the scene before.The initial buzz I believe, was that  Google+ is a social networking platform, and I think that is what everyone continued thinking, me included. However, I already have experienced many problems with Google+, mainly due to the fact that I have several Gmail accounts and I just want to have all my information on one account. For example, I want to migrate information from one account, and put it under another, but several accounts connected is quite annoying. It is more annoying now because I want to give Google+ a chance, but I apparently have 3 identities of which I am Ali Rifai and have to add friends on each account. I do not want to do that and the confusion I believe arose when Google+ just appeared on the Google bar.

I have been snooping around and when you look at the statistics, they can be quite amusing. One site as of September 2011, mentioned that 72% of Google+ users are male, 28% are female, and 20% other. Yes having 20% more than the actual capacity is great! That may just be that the Other category is companies, organizations or something… Moving over to the top 10 occupations and companies registered on Google+, most of them are technology related, with 29% of them being engineers. Fast forward to January 2013, an article on Forbes, mentioning that Facebook should watch out because Google+ and YouTube are catching up. Although I am not so sure about the numbers, the article states that Facebook had 693 million ACTIVE users as of December 2012, with 343 million and around 280 million for Google+ and YouTube respectively. The numbers do suggest that in fact, there are people using Google+ and that Google can take advantage of those users just active on YouTube somehow. Could it be  that Facebook is  more approachable from a user perspective, while Google+ could be more tech focused?

We had also visited the Facebook HQ in San Francisco, and a question about Google+ was raised. The Facebook representative answered very clearly: Facebook is social at its core, simply social. Google is not. That means that while Google+ is an initiative to break the social landscape, it ultimately entered late in a game where it shouldn’t really be playing. And as I mentioned before, Google doesn’t want to play that game. We all know Google is entering many facets of our life, but like my previous post about Google, its core purpose is to provide us with relevant information. In the end, it may be just a matter of letting the majority of users know that Google+ isn’t meant to compete with Facebook or other social networks, rather that it is platform, allowing accessibility to services.