Does Google+ have a chance at taking down Facebook?
Google has finally begun to unveil its new social networking platform, Google+. For now the platform is invitation-only, and even some of those with invitations can’t access it yet, as the network has been temporarily shut down. Will Google+ be able to take down Facebook, or even make a dent on its Facebook’s share of social networking market? It will be no small feat, but if anyone can do it, it’s Google.
More often than not in the tech world the first-comer to a new idea ends up with the greatest share in the interest for that idea. The iPhone is by far the most popular smartphone, not because it’s the best out there, but because it was the first out there, and was therefore able to snatch up most of the market before any viable alternatives (Android) were available. Even though most Android phones are much better than the iPhone (bias? Perhaps.), the iPhone still has most of the smartphone market, and remains the symbol of the new smartphone.
The same goes for Facebook and Google, who have been seemingly battling it out for internet superiority for the past few years. Google is by far the premiere search engine, in large part due to the fact that it has been the best for a long time, and the longer it remains the best, the harder it will be to unseat it. Think of it as inertia. Facebook (as well as Microsoft and a few others) has been fighting a losing battle against Google on the search engine front, attempting to frame Facebook as a more personal search engine, displaying the results you seek from the opinion of your friends. Would anyone actually use Facebook instead of google when searching for a good restaurant, a some background info on the new Transformers movie or the latest on the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement? Doubtful.
Similarly, tons of other websites (Google, LinkedIn, Renren, to name a few) have been attempting, rather unsuccessfully, to compete with Facebook on the social networking front. There is no doubt that Facebook has established itself as the dominant social networking site in the country, and probably also the world, though its popularity isn’t quite as high abroad as it is in the U.S.. History would suggest that only a truly revolutionary concept will be able to unseat Facebook as the dominant social networking website. Facebook was one of those concepts all those years ago. When it was launched it made Myspace look simple, amateur-ish and obsolete almost instantly.
I haven’t had a chance to see Google+ yet, so it remains to be seen whether or not it is simply an improvement on Facebook or a revolutionary new way of connecting people. (By the way, if anyone has a Google+ invite they want to send my way it would be greatly appreciated.) From what I’ve read so far it seems like the former. That doesn’t mean I won’t check it out when I get the chance, as I’ve rarely been disappointed by Google, and there’s nothing that says I can’t use both platforms.
Will Google+ take down Facebook? My instincts tell me it won’t, but for now I’ll remain optimistic, and say hopefully. As great as Facebook is, I wouldn’t mind a little good competition to keep them both REALLY innovating.
Cheers, and have a great 4th of July weekend.