A Google-developed social network has been on the map for some time now and even if we didn’t know what incarnation it would appear in, we’ve witnessed the company try out a few schemes recently before hitting on ‘the big one’. Remember Wave and Buzz? Well, we all make mistakes!
Google’s reinvention of the social networking idea has the potential to knock all the others off their perches, as it is inherently designed to amalgamate the good bits of all the other social networks, like Facebook, MSN, Twitter and FourSquare, in one easily accessible place.
The advantage for Google is that by jumping in at this stage in the game, they have left the heavy-lifting jobs to the guys at Facebook and the others – they have been instrumental in making social networking an integral part of our lives. Now all Google+ has to do is improve on the work the others have done, right?
Android smartphone users who already use Facebook, or TweetDeck – where a similar convergence of apps has already taken place – may well find themselves only intrigued by Google+ at this stage. Not enough of their friends are on it to warrant a complete switch over, but what is it and why is everyone talking about it? At the moment, Google+ is in the early stages and is still invite-only for non-Google account holders, but Tweeters especially are testing the waters by putting their Google+ links in their bios so people can add them there too.
At Google’s one-stop shop, you can instant message like on MSN, video call as if you’re on Skype, tag your favourite subjects, get links and read articles about them like on Delicious, group your friends in Circles (maybe so you can avoid the crazy ones), upload photos and lots more.
Multiple accounts suspended
Google’s supposed “we need to kill Facebook, what shall we do?” approach, has got its critics squawking in protest that all of these functions are already available on the web and Google pretending to have reinvented the wheel is a little arrogant to say the least. Google’s comeback is to state that right now, these connections are ‘broken’ and there is no one place where users can engage in all of these activities.
One of the drawbacks for the thousands of people who have existing Google accounts will be that multiple logins for Google+ and other Google services are not allowed. In a freak crackdown at the end of June, Google suspended many accounts trying to use multiple logins. It also suspended people using names that weren’t “real” – both rules stripping the possibility for anonymity on the web and forcing users into being themselves! The no-multiple-accounts rule might be a sticking point for those who don’t want to share their updates with their email contacts too.
Is this seriously going to be the new Facebook and do we need one? It’s so early to tell, but it’s clear to see that the fight for users’ headspace on the web has well and truly begun.