Google +/- ?

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 at 11:33 am

Three days in to using Google+ and it’s clear the platform is really well executed and highly polished.

However, the few threads going on in my stream are all related to Google+ itself — almost like a meta social network. As one friend remarked:

‘Right, since it seems Google+ is the place to talk only about Google+, i’ll continue the trend: Create a Circle, and then delete it…. enjoy the animation :-)’

Since it’s currently invite only, it’s understandable that activity on the network is fairly light. But what’s a social network without the social side? I wonder if Google are restricting sign ups just to ensure the service doesn’t collapse under the influx of users?

Talking about Google+ 48 hours after launch, Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra commented:

Insane demand. We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way

Or maybe it’s a bit more strategic: building up the hype, similar to what happened with Gmail when it launched. A Gmail invite was like a golden ticket then, and a Google+ invite is the same today. People are desperate to get in there.

But will restricting access to a new social network ultimately lead to its demise? Especially in the light of massive competition from the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Given the established networks people already have elsewhere, surely creating a critical mass of social contacts is vital on any new social application?

It’s hard to tell how Google+ is fairing this early into its existence, but Google Trends paints an interesting picture:

Google+ trend

The end of that line is fascinating: I’m really curious to see where it moves over the next few weeks.

Update (4th July): the trend is definitely declining.

Unfortunately, it’s looking not far off going the way of these ‘flops’:

Google Buzz trend (post launch, February 2010)

Google Wave trend (post launch, May 2009)

Google Wave trend

(See the following month here – the decline continues)

Apple Ping trend (post launch, September 2010)

Apple Ping trend

 

For comparison, let’s look at a recent social media success: Tumblr.

Tumblr trend (30 days after launch)

Tumblr trend

Spluttering, but the sharpness of that initial spike is quite remarkable (and the all time trend of Tumblr is quite staggering also).

So what way will the line go for Google+? Up or down? I wonder if it’s just a bit too much like Facebook without offering really much more. Maybe there is more it can offer; but I’ll need a lot more friends on there first before I can really judge.

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