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.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Recommended Reading.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts


Former Guests | posts


Recent Posts



Our Recent Books

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

%d bloggers like this: