Google’s new social networking project aims to move people away from global leader Facebook, but does it do the job?
Google’s new CEO Larry Page targeted social networking as the number one priority for the search engine giant in April. The new project, dubbed Google+, is its largest venture into the social networking market.
Ray Valdes, an internet analyst, explains the threat that Facebook poses to Google:
“Companies that are successful with the social web will get the page views, they’ll get the engagement, and they’ll eventually get the advertising dollars that are so important to Google.”
Google has made previous forays into social networking world, with Google Wave and Google Buzz – both of which failed to take off.
Initial reaction to the new product has been mixed. Some have commented that the service seems very similar to Facebook, while others seem attracted by Google+’s new approach to networking with friends and families.
The Google+ service breaks down into five distinct areas that follow core Facebook functions – placing friends and colleagues into social groups and uploading photos for others to share.
But it also has functions that plug into other projects. The “Sparks” service utilises Google’s skills as a search engine by asking you to enter details of subjects that interest you. Google+ then returns results of “something cool to watch, read or share”.
“Huddle” will let you text messages to groups of friends simultaneously and see everyone’s responses together.
But at the core of the service are the “Circles” of friends and colleagues. Using a simple drag and drop option you can group people into different sub-categories – family, friends, workers – and then choose exactly what each of those sub-categories can see of you.
One aspect Google could capitalise on is Facebook’s approach to privacy, which has come under severe criticism of late.
“In the online world there’s this ‘share box’ and you type into it and you have no idea who is going to get that, or where it’s going to land, or how it’s going to embarrass you six months from now,” said Google Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz.
“For us, privacy isn’t buried six panels deep,” he added.
Google+ started rolling out to a limited number of users on Tuesday in what the company is calling a field trial. Only those invited to join will initially be able to use the service. Google did not say when it would be more widely available.
Google, which generated $29bn in 2010, says the new service will not currently feature advertising.
We asked Channel 4 News Facebook followers if they would be jumping ship to Google.
Here are some of their answers:
As I’ve just said to a local Social Media Consultant …
But if that’s not where people are …
I have most people on Facebook, some of those are on Google and others are on other networks. What’s the point if everyone is not in the same plac…e? You still have silos, you still can’t share across networks and it is still not a solution. The only thing FB doesn’t have that I can see is video chat, and that’ll come, particularly as MS have now got Skype (remembering that MS holds a share of Facebook and there is an established working relationship there already).
Mary Fitzpatrick People, for the most part, are fickle. They left My Space for Facebook. But Paul is right, why can’t we have both
Dawn Denise Stringer I will wait and see what my friends do first, will it only affect my uk friends or ppl world wide?
Campbell Ex it better be an improvement on Google Wave which was shameful!! And they should just make it open all in one go. This invite thing is stupid and inhibiting.
Dan Packman should have called it iGoogle+………..Not sure I want Google to have yet another way to collect information either.
Eve Van Eyk Well, never say never, I thought Twitter was a flash in the pan and now look at those twits! Time will tell .. If it’s like Twitter then I won’t be interested. What I like about FB is this interaction with other people. I think people who post on Twit don’t really want enter into a debate
Imumba Nyaywa Depends how much data Google will want to collect from me and also if my mates move…
Cayte Robinson who cares?! shouldn’t we all just GO OUT SIDE and see our friends for real????…. you know… like the good old days?!!!
What do you think?
Channel 4 News‘ Facebook followers give their verdict on Google+
Mary Fitzpatrick: People, for the most part, are fickle. They left My Space for Facebook. why can’t we have both.
Mark Clark: It doesn’t seem that Google + has that killer USP or enough pull for the ad hoc user to move away from FB despite the FB geeks getting it seriously wrong recently on privacy tweaks and changes. Its twitter Google should fear most. Micro blogging signposting is key to exchanging longer thoughts, news and notions.
Dean Whitbread: You’re asking far too soon. Nobody has found the terrible things wrong with it yet, and you can bet they will…
Eve Van Eyk: Well, never say never, I thought Twitter was a flash in the pan and now look at those twits! Time will tell .. If it’s like Twitter then I won’t be interested. What I like about FB is this interaction with other people. I think people who post on Twit don’t really want enter into a debate.
Tristan Stewart Robinson: Must Google control EVERY aspect of our computer lives? They couldn’t just focus on search engines and email and all online advertising and translation tools and determining what search results we see and aggregating all news stories and copying all books ever written. . . . ?