Originally posted on Steve Rubel’s blog.
Google this week launched The Google+ project – an ambitious new product that aims to take on Facebook. Now that I have had a preview, below is a brief POV of my initial impressions. In short, I believe that once it rolls out, consumers will be nonplussed over Google+.
At launch, Google+ includes three core features that are described in detail here:
- Circles – an easy way to curate list of contacts based on contexts such as family, friends, coworkers, etc. and to facilitate more intimate sharing and connections with these circles
- Hangouts – a rich group messaging functionality that is deeply integrated into the mobile experience, built on top of the Circles feature and heavily utilizes video on the desktop
- Sparks – an aggregator of blog, news and video content that can be searched by topic and serves as a robust feeder for sharing
If this all seems familiar. it should. Google+ emulates many of Facebook’s core features and functions – and leaves much out.
Consumers can easily share content on Google+ from either a mobile device or anywhere in the Google Network via a new navigation bar that also debuted. In addition, users can “+1” content from their circles just as they can via searches on Google.com and elsewhere using Google’s version of the Facebook Like button.
This is Google’s effort to bring consumers more deeply into its fold as they very slowly slip away from the searchable web, which they monetize, and into walled gardens it cannot as easily see. This includes mobile applications and Facebook. It is their strongest play in social yet. And given the way it is deeply bolted into the Google ecosystem – Contacts, Profiles, Picasa, YouTube, GMail and Google Talk – it will likely get a big push off the ground once it launches more widely.
On the plus side, pun intended, the company has clearly rethought how people may want to share and they have learned. Google+ is basically what Google Buzz should have been. However, unlike its predecessor, there’s no easy way for consumers to pull in content from other networks – at least for now.
However, at least where we sit today, I believe that Google+ will leave consumers nonplussed – e.g. bewildered. While the interface is terrific and Circles and Hangouts both offer a strong value proposition, Google+ doesn’t solve a consumer problem that Facebook already hasn’t – or soon will – solve.
What’s more Google today is a mature brand that many view as a utility – search, apps and operating systems – not a place to facilitate stronger connections. Facebook, and to some degree Twitter and Tumblr for those who wish to be public, have assumed this role and are deeply embedded habits.
So, in sum, watch this space. The key here is branding. Does Google+ offer enough value so that consumers will see them in a whole new way? I don’t believe they will.
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/EdelmanDigital/~3/1O73DaRB3XU/