Google+ some more thoughts

23 07 2011

I just read  this ‘Why twitter is obsolete‘ and despite there being the usual mass of comment on Google+ and how it will or wont change the world, this one has a fact I hadn’t been aware of before.

“Twitter defines an “active user” as one who follows at least 30 people and has at least 10 people who follow him. A source with access to Twitter’s API who was quoted by Business Insider in April says that there were only 21 million people or accounts on Twitter that met the “active user” criteria.”

This is interesting and until I read it I had never considered the quality value of user metrics, just their quantative value. If this is true, and I have to say I suspect it might be, then Google+ can (and should) go for the jugular and change the game. In my opinion the Google+ UI and hence UX, while good, is lacking some simple but vital features. Right now the ‘stream’, the main feed of everyone you have circled in some way, is too noisy and circles currently don’t provide quite enough flexibility to tailor your default stream. But this is trivial to resolve for Google and many people have already commented on the 2 or 3 options to fix it, I’m sure Google will.

Another point raised in the previously mentioned article is that a lot of posts are nothing more than a teaser or snippet that then links to a fuller blog post. In fact Tweetdeck a very popular client for twitter and recently acquired by twitter, provides a tweet extender. But Google can beat this simply, it could allow you to post a full blog, direct into your stream. If Google allows for a simple two level posting mechanic, something like a summary, length restricted but including media and then a fuller extended post, hidden by default but with a clickable extend button on the post then it has in stream bloging taken care of.

twitters greatest asset in its early days, long before I wanted to use it, was its open and available API, this allowed them to build twitter and anyone to build add-ons and clients. But now twitter is much bigger, and not so open to others delivering the features it thinks (rightly or wrongly) it should be delivering. Once Google+ delivers its API we will see some of the current social media clients (Seesmic, Hootsuite, etc) including Google+, at this point its going to become apparent that twitter itself lacks in many areas compared to Google+ and it might just be a matter of time.

That time may also be a lot shorter than people think (myself included), this comparative graph of Google+ growth v’s twitter v’s Facebook, while not being a fair direct comparison, shows how rapidly Google+ has taken off (and its still invite based) and may give some indications to how volatile the social media user base is.

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