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

    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?