Google+ – How many social networks do we need?

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With Google opening up a large number of invites to Google+ this week, the conversation surged about this new attempt by the Internet giant. I created a login and had a look, like millions of other Google users in the world. It’s Google, so many of us will try.

The second or third to market sometimes does well, sometimes doesn’t, it’s about circumstance. Heck, Google was NOT the first search engine, but they ARE the best today. Google does have a lot of information about me and my networks to possibly make Google+ useful. Through Gmail, they have my address book, for a while there, they could get at my Facebook friends (Facebook put an end to that -Facebook has just shut out Open X-Change tool designed to transfer Facebook friends to Google+..) And of course, I “visit” Google everyday as my chosen search engine.

Facebook was at least second to market (MySpace being 1st) and as we all know – that worked well. The difference? Broader appeal. While MySpace appealed to the teenage and music loving crowd, Facebook got us all through Universities and our desire to voyeur into the lives of people we went to school with, or work with, etc.

I remember years ago setting-up my Linked-In profile thinking this was a pretty neat online resume and way to find people. When Plaxo came out and I started to get invites to join it and people started to connect with me on it, I thought, I already set-up my online resume and I can find people professionally just fine with Linked-In. I am not doing this again with Plaxo. A lot of people felt the same way – as proved by their comparable user bases.

So is Google+ to Facebook as Plaxo is to Linked-In? It’s hard to tell. So now that we’ve all invested all this time in Facebook, finding friends, joining communities, linking our favorite online games to our Facebook profiles, setting up the Twitter feed, etc. Do we want to do it again with Google+? They are surely making it easy to set-up. Right when I clicked on my invite, I got a list (and all I had to do was check-all) to invite people to my network. It’s still new, but when I looked at my list, only 4, out of my over 500 person gmail address book had already signed-up. So far, I have been waiting to spam my whole inbox with invites to Google+, but maybe I will. The question is – how many social networks can one have?

Here’s what some of the analysts in and around the social and Internet space think so far (these are taken from Twitter):

  • Michael Fauscette (IDC and one of the smartest guys in the tech analyst world): Google Plus: Is This the Social Tool Schools Have Been Waiting For? – http://rww.to/jvk5Kd
  • Ray Wang (CEO Constellation & All Knowing Tech Analyst): Need 2-way on #tweets using #google+ as a client for me to be a full convert. #socbiz #scrm #googleplus #collab#e20 ; Head’s quite dizzy with the feeds from #googleplus #google+ on one screen and the #twitterstream on another. #book manuscript in middle!
  • Jacob Morgan (Chess Media Group): Google + to me has the same value as chatter does. It’s basically a customer version of chatter for asynchronous
  • Curt Monash (one of the most clever guys in the DBMS space) isn’t sure yet: So will we all move soon to Google +? I haven’t looked at it at ALL yet (don’t even have an invite).
  • Nick Patience (451 Group): Dipping toes into Google+, liking them circles so far
  • Esteban Kolsky (my favorite analyst and skeptic) : can we leave all the “google+ is going to take over the world” predictions for 6-12 months into the future? we need to see it work first
  • Katie Boehret (WSJ Tech Writer): Confused about Google+? You’re not alone! Here’s my explainer column & video http://dthin.gs/oMYQIV
  • 50cent (ok, he’s not an analyst, but he does have 47M+ followers on Twitter): Who on this new google+ sh*t. Add me on there https://plus.google.com/u/0/114809488257853535663/

The general buzz has a lot of neutral content. When I pulled the neutral comments out – you can see there are a bit more negative than positive comments. Mostly related to it being yet another social network and people still being skeptical about the value.

Google+11 1024x450 Google+ How many social networks do we need?

Of course, Google is hyping it – all over – here’s their blog which counts the user growth: https://plus.google.com/117388252776312694644/posts/1k85ZNPCu1A With one of the broadest access to people online, it is not surprising that Google is getting people to give it a try. I agree with much of the commentary, though – let’s wait and see. Have found your CIRCLE OF FRIENDS yet?

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