After initial flop, does Google+ have a secret weapon for a comeback?
December 27, 2012 by Beatweek
Google+ was going to lure millions of existing Google services users away from Facebook and become the dominant social network, according to “social media experts” everywhere who in hindsight were guilty of wishful thinking. In reality, while plenty of Gmail users sought invites to Google+ and registered for it, they took one look around and went back to Facebook; by and large the only people who’ve stuck around are those social media experts themselves, along with fellow geeks who prefer it+ either because they’re brand-loyal to Google or because they actually like the fact that the pesky mainstream congregates elsewhere. According to the standards set by those self proclaimed experts, Google+ was a failure. But that’s not to say that their external expectations had any correlation to what Google itself was expecting or planning…
The social media experts now retroactively claim that Google+ was never intended to be a social network, any comparisons to Facebook aren’t fair, and the true details of what Google has been planning for it all along have yet to emerge. In contradicting themselves so spectacularly, these “experts” now look absurd. But what if their attempt at backtracking on their own predictions unwittingly points to a bit of truth about what Google has really been up to?
Forget about Google+ becoming a dominant, or even relevant, social network any time soon. As if to emphasize just how little momentum it has remaining in that regard, I just got an email titled “6 people you might know on Google+” featured four Google employees among the six. You can’t make this stuff up. And forget about the sale of Android devices driving Google+ socializing, as new Android users are instead making a beeline for Facebook and to a lesser degree Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest just as surely as iPhone users are…
But at the same time there’s a place where Google+ does have some quiet and largely unnoticed momentum going for it. Search for a particular restaurant on Google, and one of the top results may be a Google information source on that restaurant. Click on it, and suddenly you’re on a plus.google.com domain whether you realize it or not. This points to Google+ being not a social network but a resource, an informational repository for all that Google has to offer. If left to merely that, then the future of Google+ is that of little more than a database. But with Google’s penchant for always trying to turn its current services into more wide reaching ones, perhaps what we see of it is only the tip of the iceberg.
Either that, or Google+ really has devolved into nothing more than an in house social network for Google employees and the geeks who worship the company, a footnote of failure amid Google’s successes like Search and Android and Gmail. Only time will tell.