Just a few months ago, inside the summer of 2011, we saw the birth of Google’s own utterly mystifying social networking site Google+, complete with an interface that resembled not one, but all of the rest of the social media sites combined – what we’ve seen since are hundreds of combatant posts yelling at one another about how Google+ is either growing rapidly or suddenly petering out. There are numbers that can prove both if you don’t pay attention to the other, that much is true. What I want to tell you today is why I think what’s GOING to happen almost certainly WILL.
Let me tell you an epiphany I had earlier today: the reason Apple works and is more enticing than Windows for masses of consumers is that OS X is a tool that tells you what it can do and how you can use it, while Windows is just a tool. Windows Phone is catching on to this idea, and Android certainly had the idea right from their start as well, but iPhone is without a doubt based on this idea implicitly. The same is true of Facebook and Google+, to a degree, where Facebook is very easy to understand for a relative beginner and Google+ is pretty much the most confusing place in the world for those who don’t have the power to glean its abilities by exploring.
So Google+ became instantly rather popular not because it was easy to understand and fun to use, but because of Google’s brand power and the fact that it did not have an open door at first, invites handed out to sites like SlashGear for later contests and giveaways. Keep a line and people will stand in it, basically. Google+ is a tool that can be powerful, but because it does not inform the user properly how it can and should be utilized, it will never grow to the level Facebook has.
Over at TechCrunch you’ll find that Erick Schonfeld has found searches for the term “Google+” to be going down here at the tail end of 2011. In the timeline below this paragraph you’ll find that Google’s team for their social networking site never ever stops innovating and adding to the abilities of the site. Look into your heart and you’ll find that like MySpace, so too must this site eventually pass.