Google’s decision to try its luck one more time in the social market with its Google+ platform is somewhat surprising. Over the last several years, Google has attempted to vanquish top players in the social market with the help of Orkut and Google Buzz. In both cases, it failed, even though those services are still in operation.
Now, with Google+, many believe the search giant is delivering the best social experience it ever has. The project boasts several features, including group support and video chatting, that, some say, help it trump Facebook. However, Facebook allows for group support andthe social network added video calling last week. In some areas, Google+ and Facebook appear to be in a dead heat.
But when it comes to long-term success, the two services are anything but even. As nice as Google+ is, and as sensational as some stories about it are, the social project will never be able to take Facebook down as the top platform in the market. Facebook delivers far too many benefits and is simply too big for Google+ to vanquish.
Read on to find out more about why Google+ will never smack down Facebook:
1. 750 million users (and counting)
According to Facebook, it now has more than 750 million active users around the globe. More important, all of those users are actively using the site each month. That is an impressive feat, and it becomes all the more daunting for Google when one considers that its Google+ project hasabout 10 million users. If Google wants to take down Facebook, it has a long way to go.
2. Don’t forget the enterprise
Although many people like to compare consumer use of Facebook and Google+, it’s important to keep in mind that companies also play an integral role in the success of the world’s largest social network. Companies around the globe have created, or will create, pages that allow them to promote their brands, engage customers, and more. Google+ isn’t so well-equipped for that right now. The corporate world might just be Facebook’s ace in the hole.
3. Google’s past problems
Google’s issues in the past will come back to haunt it eventually. When Google Buzz launched, the search giant had egg on its face after privacy advocates complained that the service automatically shared information publicly about who a user contacted most often. What’s more, Google has faced privacy issues on several of its platforms, including its advertising, StreetView, and others. Both inside the social sphere and out, Google has faced privacy troubles and that might be enough for some users to balk at joining its latest social release.
4. Facebook isn’t MySpace
Already some comparisons are being made between Facebook and MySpace, saying that the world’s largest social network could be hacked down the way it overcame MySpace. The only issue is,Facebook isn’t MySpace. It has more users, companies are more engaged and there are no signs that people are getting fed up with it. The only fair comparison between Facebook and MySpace is that at one time they were both big and dominant. Anything beyond that is a red herring.
Facebook User Loyalty Will Trump Google+ Novelty
5. Mobility is an essential feature
Mobile platforms continue to be a key factor in the success of Facebook. For the millions of people around the globe who own an iPhone, snapping a photo with the camera and uploading to their Facebook profile with the social network’s mobile app is a cinch. The same can be said on Android. With an iPad application coming sooner rather than later, expect Facebook to continue to capitalize on the popularity of mobile platforms to grow its own business, which will allow it to maintain its dominant position versus Google+.
6. Think about the revenue
Facebook’s advertising platform could also help the social network stay one step ahead of Google+. For now, the search giant’s project doesn’t offer a way for advertisers to capitalize on the service’s membership. Facebook, on the other hand, has an advertising platform that companies around the globe are capitalizing on. In fact, eMarketer reported earlier this year that Facebook’s ad revenue is set to explode from about $1.86 billion last year to more than $4 billion this year. In 2012, that figure will grow again to nearly $6 billion. That indicates that advertisers are engaged, and as long as they stay with Facebook, it won’t need to worry about Google+.
7. The groups issue
One of best and worst features of Google+ is Circles. The feature is, simply, a way for people to group different folks into different groups and allow users to share only some content with certain people. On paper, it’s a great feature. But the question is, do people really want to spend time organizing groups in such a way? Facebook’s Groups feature is far more straightforward, allowing everyone within the group to see everyone else. The Google+ Circles feature isn’t so open. What’s more, its functionality is a bit confusing for new users. As one of the hallmark features of Google+, Circles falls short.
8. People are loath to switch their entire social effort
MySpace notwithstanding, people around the globe are not very willing to move their entire social effort to another social network. As Twitter has proven, people will use multiple social networks. But to think that Facebook users will ditch their profiles and all their friends for a social network that has an extremely small number of users compared with their old favorite is nonsense. In the average user’s mind, Google+ is a complement to Facebook and something worth trying out; it’s not a replacement.
9. Core competencies need to be considered
Whenever two companies are pitted against each other, it’s important to consider what they’re best at. Facebook excels at social networking, which is central to its business. Google, on the other hand, is a search company that also offers advertising platforms, a mobile operating system, and much more. Facebook “gets” social networking. Google “gets” search. But does Google really “get” social networking? That’s up for debate.
10. Early growth isn’t the full story
Much of the talk surrounding Google+’s ability to take Facebook down revolvesaround the service’s early growth. Recent reports suggested Google+ has reached 10 million users, and could hit 20 million by the end of the weekend. While that might be the case, early success does not mean long-term growth. Google has a long way to go to make its Google+ service popular and worthwhile, and talk of it vanquishing Facebook because of its recent successes just doesn’t add up.