As I check my email every morning I am spammed with what seems like every online discount deal known to man. After immediately deleting the morning round of the email blasts I always ask myself, “how did it get this bad?” Well, it all began with one. I originally joined Gilt Group, which is an online service that features great discounts on designer brands. Soon after, I found a similar service, then another. Then I discovered Groupon, then Living Social. Soon I was a member on ten different discount sites that all offered me the same thing: cheaper clothes, food and travel. It took a company like Gilt only one year to go from expanding its range beyond clothes but to travel, local discounts and as an online meat retailer as well. Thus becoming an almost identical service to the rest.
So what does this all have to do with Facebook and Google+? Both of them follow the same pattern of mimicry. You can say Facebook is a spinoff of Myspace that enhances social capabilities and keeps the creepy out. And now Google has joined in with the recent release of the Google+ project. Although it is still in the trial stage, many speculate if this will champion the ever-great Facebook.
Clean and Simple.
What is a plus? First off, I love the aesthetic look. It’s very modern and it gives a fresh look to social networking. More importantly, Google does a great job in helping you organize your social life. David Pogue from the New York Times explains it quite well:
On Google+, you put the people of your life’s different social circles into — well, into Circles. That is, groups. Categories. Google starts you off with empty circles called Friends, Acquaintances, Family and Following (people you don’t know, but want to follow, as you would on Twitter). It’s a piece of cake to add new ones. They can be tiny circles (“Granny and Gramps”) or big ones (“Family Tree”), organization-based (“Fantasy League Buddies”) or arbitrary (“Annoying People”).
This feature will help you get the information you want, when you want it. In Facebook I get messages and event invitations from everyone I’m connected to: friends, family and that random classmate from middle school who needs phone numbers since he lost his phone…again. Now I can seamlessly weed out those types of messages on my newsfeed by selecting the different circles I want to see at that time.
Destined to fail?
Although I see this as a cool feature, there are those who oppose the set up of Google+. Since you have a more intimate relationship with every person by adding them to custom Circles, some believe that it limits Google+ from ever surpassing Facebook in popularity. Taking a more theoretical perspective, Chunk Mui from Forbes explains:
The better a social network is at facilitating subgroups, the more subgroups its users are likely to join, and, as a result, the more likely that social network will soak up users’ attention…All of these capabilities exist on Facebook (though they could be better). Almost none exist on Google+.
It's more than you think.
Google+ may seem like another Facebook wannabe, but to Google, it is much, much more. Now with your profile, you can easily switch from personalized web searching, Gmail, calendar and chat without ever leaving the website. People will no longer remain as fans of Google, but members. However, is this enough? The circles are great, but I'm sure Facebook could easily implement the same idea. What is the overt benefit Google+ poses for the user? We must keep in mind that the service still hasn’t been released to the public yet so there is a chance more major additions will come. But until then, are we expected to replace Facebook for Google+, or are we merely given another imitation?
On another note, Microsoft has even been rumored to be working on its own social networking site called Tulalip!