Is Google+ No Longer a Threat for Facebook and Twitter?

By: Abby Johnson - October 6, 2011

When Google+ launched, lots of people were proclaiming its potential. While there are some, such as Robert Scoble, that still openly praise the service, a lot of other people seem to be less impressed.

In fact, it has actually been declared dead by multiple sources. Dan Reimold, the Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Tampa, is among these naysayers and wrote a post expressing his opinions:

Google+ is dead,” he wrote. “At worst, in the coming months, it will literally fade away to nothing or exist as Internet plankton. At best, it will be to social networking what Microsoft’s Bing is to online search: perfectly adequate; fun to stumble onto once in awhile; and completely irrelevant to the mainstream web.”

Is Google+ dead to you? Let us know your thoughts?

In a recent interview with Reimold, he explained to us that he was an early adopter of the social platform. From his experience with it, he said that 2 reactions became very apparent very quickly. For starters, people were using Google+ in the same way that they would use LinkedIn. Secondly, he said that he wasn’t finding anything on Google+ that was more interesting or different than the information he was already finding on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, and other sources.

After some time, he began to get “bored” with the service and said he found that a lot of other people felt the same way.

“It’s really not something that’s getting a huge fanbase [and] that makes you feel like it’s where you want to be,” said Reimold. “Facebook is still the game, Twitter is still the game, [and] Tumblr is something that’s growing and becoming very popular among the younger student set and that seems to have the buzz of something that really is the game.”

Google+ did, however, just recently open up to the public, and based on recent data from Experian Hitwise, the service has grown significantly as a result. According to the research, Google+ grew 1269% from the week ending September 17 to the week of September 24.

That said, it is interesting that Google’s management staff doesn’t appear to be frequent Google+ users. Michael DeGusta brought this to light on The Understatement when he wrote, “Management caring deeply about their company’s products and using them every day is almost always a prerequisite of making great products.”

He cites people such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who use the services that they run continuously. When it comes to Google+, the story is a little different:

Both Reimold and DeGusta raise good points, but only time will tell whether or not these viewpoints are validated. Let’s also not forget that Facebook’s major changes that have received a lot of mixed responses from users. If users aren’t happy with these changes once they are fully rolled out, it is possible that they might transition to Google+. The chances are slim, but it is still a possibility. But, if it’s like most Facebook changes, the users will grumble and complain but eventually love the new features.

Reimold told us that the real test for Google+ would be to see how many users would be active on the service 6 months from now. While he sticks by his statement that the service is dead to him at this point, he said he does believe that Google has the potential to make it into something great.

“Something’s only dead until it’s alive again, so it is very possible, with the weight of Google behind it, that they might be able to re-launch and really capture people’s attention,” said Reimold.

Does Google+ still have the potential to threaten Facebook or Twitter?

Abby Johnson

About the Author

Abby JohnsonAbby Johnson is a reporter for WebProNews. Google: Google+

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  • Andreas Kanon

    G+ is the platform to be on if you are a photographer. The growth is almost exponential currently

  • Kenneth Hopkins

    I think the only way G+ is going to threaten FB or Twitter is to offer something more compelling. If its just another way to give updates, then people will use it as a second or third link to what they are already actively posting elsewhere.

    The spike is interesting, yet I think only so because they generated buzz by “roping it off”, making people want what they couldn’t have. When I got in, I was a bit unimpressed. I guess I expected “it” to do more. I would expect more than a slicker way to organize my friends.

  • Lloyd Sexton

    I’d watch the music scene on this as well. great potential with hangouts and such already being used to effect by some promoters

  • Gloria Rand

    I’ve been trying to post on Google+ more frequently, but am getting no interaction there. It is a great format for sharing photographs, but I’m not rushing to spend more time on it. Facebook & Twitter are fine for me. If it went away tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss it.

  • Sam

    Problem is that people don’t need more social networks unless people are massively unhappy with Facebook, which is not the case. Ebay is auctions, ecommerce, Google is search and Facebook is social. There is nothing remarkable about Google +. Google + is also a horrible name for a social network as people will confuse it with the search engine’s. I’m sure Google + will be retired in no later than six months. It’s dead, sucking money into the trash bin.

    • Steven

      When I first heard about Google Plus, I figured Google would have been smart and simply integrated all the different social networking sites into one spot. I mean most of them have their own API’s to do so, or you simply write one. That way nobody would actually need to go on Facebook to post on a wall, or twitter to tweet. I mean I figured why would a search engine create anything on their own if they could simply be the hub to which all can be connected? Isn’t taking other site’s content and throwing up ads kind of Google’s M.O.?

  • Taylor

    Google+ is still in its infant stage, whereas Facebook and twitter or more along the lines of young adults. It took them all time to mature (or degrade to some) to the states they’re in now. Sadly, I think G+ gained most of its hype and popularity solely through exclusion, only to disappoint casual users who expected to see something more.

    I think Google+‘s best hope to stay afloat is to hinder to the business community, integrating features like groupon and foursquare, while remaining a social platform for the everyday user to interact. There’s truly no hope to take on the facebook goliath right now.

  • Chris

    The only thing that I gleaned from Prof. Reimold’s comments was that Google+ wasn’t interesting to his friends (or to him). I thought that the big idea of interviewing a professor was that you expect a professor to bring some kind of research or statistical analysis into the discussion. All Reimold offered were his personal thoughts about G+ as a platform.

    Isn’t that kind of useless?? I don’t care very deeply about Google+. I use it, but I’m not blown away by it. It’s better than Facebook in my opinion but I think that it’s telling that the executive team at Google doesn’t even use it (and they don’t even fake it by having some internal social media person post updates on their behalf). There’s obviously no passion behind the product and I think that DeGusta pointed that out very nicely with…research.

    But c’mon guys, let’s not offer unfounded opinions from academics in our articles. It’s just poor journalism.

  • Rachel

    Yeah. Google+ is pretty much dead to me. I just don’t see the point. None of my friends are there! And the most hyped features are already available on Facebook. Video chat + YouTube watching…well, shucks I can do that by clicking on the Rounds app on FB ( ).

  • Damian

    I’m not holding my breath will watch with one that is baited.

  • Steven

    The only way I can see Google Plus being a threat is if Google allowed Facebook integration. It’s almost certain that will not happen. Also, Google has been pretty slow to launch any new features in Google Plus. Even though I hate the new wall layout in Facebook, Facebook still has a better system than Google has for social networking.

  • Dennis

    I never joined Facebook. I joined Google+ on the day it was open to the public and I’m very impressed with the service. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (generally credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web) said Facebook a threat to the universality of the world wide web:

  • David

    Even if it is not widely used on a consistent basis, any information given to Google that impacts search results is extremely relevent to the mainstream web — and you can be certain, if you are signed in to Google, that the search results served to you are influenced not only by your own history, but also by data related to people that you have in your circles.

  • Rob

    I signed up but never really did anything with it… none of my facebook friends use it either…

  • Bob

    I dropped facebook as soon as google plus came out. Some friends came over, many haven’t. I don’t really care. If google plus goes away, oh well. There is no chance in hell I’m going back to FB.

  • Idael

    Paypal is e-commerce, Ebay is online store, Facebook Social media, Google search engine; why would I want to have American Airlines start building up cars now??? I signed up for G+ when it was restricted to some persons, the more I have tried to understand some features the more confused I get, besides I already have all those features on some other social media. The only way G+ can be a big challenge to facebook is if they integrate all Social medias into one and people can post and check statuses from Google+. It is my honest opinion, What do you think?

    • Thomas van Dijk

      BMW started out in airplanes, however, they’re doing cars now. I guess that would make it less of a stretch, huh?

      As for Google, they’re not only known for search these days, but also for Chrome and Android. I agree some of their other products may have been a bit of hit and miss, but sometimes I feel like that’s a part of marketing more then anything else.

      I’ve seen advertisements for Google Chrome, I haven’t seen any yet for Google+. If Google decides to advertise it’s latest product it could still tip the balance in favor of Google.

  • R.O.I.

    “Does Google+ still have the potential to threaten Facebook or Twitter?”

    LOL. Does Google Deals, their Groupon killer, possess a threat to Groupon? Abby you’ll do a great service to WPN if you wrote an article about the status of Google Deals. It’s a joke, dead.

    Google is good for nothing, Abby. Sometimes throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it and they just haven’t figured that out yet. There is no genuine love from Google. All their decisions are driven by “how to make more money from those suckers” motto. That’s one the reason all their clones have failed and always will. Tons of privacy issues with Google +. They got lucky with search and little by little they are losing ground.