I’ve been playing around with Google+ for a few days and I am impressed and disapointed in equal measure. So far Googles latest attempt at creating a social networking platform is, without doubt, their best effort yet. It includes some new features and adds some polish to some established ones.
Right now its STILL in invite only phase, it really needs to be out of this in the next few days. Already people I know using it all agree, the biggest missing feature is their friends. What use a social networkng site with no one to be social with? What else is missing? Well a lot of things but the two they need a solid answer to very quickly are Facebook and twitter.
Everyone uses Facebook, not everyone is going to be using Google+, not even if they give away £10 with every sign up. They need a mechanism to ease people over from Facebook to Google+ and the obvious way is to allow Google+ to post into Facebook. The same is true of twitter, but thats a different party.
So why is there no tickbox in Google+ to ‘Post to Facebook’? Either Google couldnt or wouldnt, I dont buy the idea that they didnt. Its an intersting issue. Facebook are unlikely to allow any kind of posting that potentially takes away their traffic or their users. This is going to set Google+ and Facebook against each other. Facebook is established, feature rich (relatively), has an open API for developers and 750 million users. Google+ has… Circles?
So thats a knockout and a win for Facebook then, not quite in my opinion. Facebook has been on the wrong end of privacy issues time and time again and its always won because there was no alternative. Google+ is shiny and new, though I have yet to figure out why this could ever translate into a meaningful selling point, we are not talking about cars!
Ok, so what about twitter. Neither Facebook nor Google+ allow direct native posting to twitter, though there are plenty of Social Media applications that get around this, though now yet for Google+ (damn, not having that API is already a problem, isnt it!). twitter is not a competitor to Facebook or to Google+ in my opinion, they are overlapping and complimnetary. twitter is more public, its the open room big conversation. Facebook is the closed party of friends and like minded individuals. What is Google+? Well it has potential to be both, I’m minded to consider that Google and twitter could really forge a strong realtionship here.
Google+ needs to create Circles, its feature to group friends, that can be your twitter friends and your Facebook friends. I think the winning play is to play every game, social media is people, not systems. When there are no options 3rd parties fill the gaps. But if Google relies on 3rd parties, when they can eventually get hold of an API, to build features needed for Google+ survival they may find them writing for the platform that suported them first.
I think this landscape feel over crowded but I think it has room for the life and soul of the party to make an appearance. Mobile is going to be the decisive factor. So thats game set and match to Google then, after all they have Android for phones and tablets (yes, the tables are a joke, but that will change) and they launched a truly killer Google+ Android app. Game over? No.
Not by a long way. Apple has got the Google+ app to approve, I’m sure it will approve it in the next few days and I’m sure it will be great. The Facebook app sucks, on all platforms. The twitter app is fine everywhere, though nothing special. But Apple has a possible game changer about to appear.
Its widely rumoured that when Apple launches the iPhone5 later this year, with the public release of iOS5, it will alos launch a new, lower price, iPhone. Imagine an iPhone that can eat into the phone market on price, who will want to buy anything else? An iPhone that is as cool as an iPhone5, can do every thing an iPhone5 can do, but is cut down in some ways. Apple may just be about to blow up the smartpjhone market again in the same way, with the same tactic, it used on the tablet market. Make an Apple product everyone will want and make it a aprice no one can compete with.
So who wants to put money on which platform is going to have the best Faecbook and twitter apps in a few months?
Interesting, isnt it?