g+: fly or die?
By Contributing Editor: GuyverV
i was asked two questions about google+ both relating to why i like it. paraphrased, one asked "why do you like google+ and dislike facebook so much." the other was, "why is this so special." i gave a knee jerk reaction to the first question and answered it by saying it was because of the way google+ handled privacy and filtering as compared to facebook, who is willing to share my data with every game developer and advertiser from here to neptune. in truth, i like google+ better than facebook and think it's so special for the control i get as well as the ecosystem that it will create and represent.
when i log into facebook or twitter, i'm stuck there. all of the information that i consume is either created there or links to a page outside the ecosystem of those social networks. compare that to google who owns: android, chrome browser, chrome OS, gmail, youtube, blogger, picasa, search, google reader, google docs, +1, google maps, google finance, google voice, etc. i personally use the majority of those products and i'm sure you use a few. consider those products and you begin to understand that google+ might not be such a crazy idea.
because i'm tied into their ecosystem already, google+, if done correctly, will facilitate a better sharing experience for me because it will be a natural extension of the browsing i already do. the integrated omnipresence of the black bar or "sandbar" across all of google's aforementioned services is what will ensure it's success or failure. the picasa implementation represents the best of this while sparks represents the worst integration as it probably should have simply been an extension of your google reader account. an oddity is that gtalk isn't integrated into hangouts. if google's implementation of said integration is poorly done, we will be speaking of google+ in the past tense, much like it's predecessors. maybe the oversights i mentioned will be handled as google+ becomes less of a project and more of a product.
buzz and wave were halfhearted attempts at social networking that lacked any focus and were doomed from the starting gate. those projects were firecrackers where google+ is a hydrogen bomb. it's true potential isn't that it took the best parts of facebook and twitter and made them better, it's the fact that the sandbar and the +1 button will be present throughout much of your web surfing.
google has truly thrown down the gauntlet with google+ and it represents their best hope of making a mark in social networking. only time will tell if they will succeed. i don't think the goal right out the gate is to be a twitter or facebook killer. the goal is to capture your eyes in google services for longer. after all, this is about eyes and advertising dollars. as long as they can keep you locked into their ecosystem, they win and no amount of skype integration can stop that.