Gans on Google+

17 July 2011 at 10:41 am 3 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

I have been using Google + for about a week now. I am unimpressed, and I think I will remain unimpressed. Quite simply, it doesn’t do a lot for me. On his HBR blog, the always thoughtful Joshua Gans points out that because Google+ is a network technology it must build sufficient installed base. However, G+ may face difficulties doing just that, because it offers users rather little extra problem-solving value compared to the existing alternatives:

Facebook provides “hyper-local news,” allowing people to broadcast news, opinions, and interests to their social circle in a way that feels authentic. Twitter, because it is essentially public and open, delivers news fast and also permits users to follow famous or interesting individuals.

Google+ does both of these things in one. But because the problems are already solved separately, then Google+ only solves the increment: you can view private and public content on the one “page.” To be sure, some harmonization across content platforms can be valuable to consumers. But Google+ is only adding the increment and not the whole lot. So while it might be argued that if Google+ happened five years ago, its technical implementation might have made it a clear winner, that is not the world we find ourselves in now.

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Grade Inflation The Menger Sponge

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marc F. Bellemare  |  17 July 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I agree with Gans’ analysis. I would also add that Google+ is not easy to figure out, unlike Facebook and Twitter. I joined Google+ last week, and I am not convinced. Sure, it is a nice mixture of Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. I get that. But what I am not so sure about is whether I need to spend more time following yet another social network. I find that blogging, Facebook, and Twitter are enough for my social-media needs, and unless the entire aid-and-development blogging crowds migrates exclusively to Google+, I doubt I will use it very much.

  • 2. chandra  |  17 July 2011 at 6:38 pm

    How many of these experts have predicted the continued rise of facebook, google, or any other company? When someone says “I find x, y or z not much of use to me and therefore I don’t think it will succeed in the market”, I roll my eyes because, what he is essentially saying is that, because it doesn’t appeal to you or satisfy your need, you are assuming that it won’t solve anyone’s needs or appeal to anybody else. The entire history of understanding market phenomena shows without a doubt that it is extremely rare for anyone to be able consistently to predict what would or would not work in the market place. If the predictions are from an academic, it is an order of magnitude more likely to be wrong. My personal take is that even if the first few iterations of G+ are not very successful, google has shown the ability to continually learn and rapidly iterate and keep doing it with a focus and resource pool that few companies in the web space today can match.

  • 3. Nicki Brøchner  |  29 July 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I agree with Chandra, and that leads me to wonder why it is that everyone just assumes that there can only be one social network that serves the market? Personally I find G+ is a perfect match between the type of social network like Facebook and Twitter. I can follow anyone that I find interesting with out I need there consent and at the same time I can have a real conversation/discussion. I don’t know if G+ will be around in a years time or not, but I do hope so.

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