If Google+ Is a Major Player, Where Does It Leave Other Social Networks?

    August 2, 2011

Google+ has made quite a splash in the social media space with recent reports crediting it with more than 20 million users. These numbers are quite impressive given that the site is not yet opened to the public and that it is just over a month old.

As Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at the Enderle Group explained to WebProNews, this growth is especially noteworthy considering that Google+ is coming up in a market that is dominated by Facebook. In fact, most of the Google+ users are already on Facebook and Twitter.

“The speed in which it has come forward is pretty interesting given the fact that it is largely pulling from a competing property and from people that, at least initially, said they didn’t have enough time to deal with yet one more social network,” he said.

Do you think the rapid growth of Google+ will continue? Let us know.

It’s clear that Google+ has adopted features similar to those from other popular social networks and has blended many of the services together. For example, the appearance of the platform is very much like Facebook’s layout, but, at this point, it seems that people are using it more like Twitter.

The primary difference in Google+ and Facebook and Twitter is that, because there are fewer people on the site, it makes the interaction “more intimate.” But, will this trend continue? Enderle believes that it will, at least for a while.

“The reality here is that people have too many social media products, and they’re likely going to drop one or two of them as they go forward,” he pointed out. “The fact that Google+ can embrace several of them at once, and so at least provide the promise that you might be able to get rid of LinkedIn, might be able to get rid of Facebook and get rid of Twitter, and have one service that does all three, I think, has been compelling to the early group of users.”

Because most people are like sheep, users will move to or stay with whatever social network that their friends decide to make their main network. Even if one user prefers Google+ over Facebook, if his friends don’t move there, then he will likely not transition either.

“As good as Google+ is, it’s still Facebook’s battle to lose,” said Enderle.

He went on to explain that Facebook has the advantage because it is the platform where the majority of users currently are. If you remember though, Myspace was the dominant social network when Facebook came on the scene, which is leading many people to think that a Myspace moment is coming.

“There is an opportunity here for Google+ to do to Facebook what Facebook did to Myspace,” he said.

According to Enderle, many users are frustrated with Facebook for multiple reasons including privacy, continued changes, and more. He believes that Google has taken these experiences, as well as those from other networks, and has applied them as lessons learned in managing its own social network.

Even though Google+ is doing a lot of things right, it will still be a challenge for it to overturn Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

“In the end, we’re still in the early days of this particular battle, and Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are not going to let their users go easily,” said Enderle.

He also warned that, in spite of the potential that Google+ has, the company would have to avoid making the same mistakes with customers that it has in the past. He said that it needed to focus on satisfying its customers.

Does Google+ have what it takes to succeed in the long term?