We simply don’t need another social network, no matter how great your circles are or how badly Larry Page wants to have one.
Agreed. The problem, which Google really, truly does not seem to understand is that at the end of the day, they’re solving a problem which has already been solved. They may think it hasn’t, but it has.
It’s the same problem Bing faces in search against Google. It’s a fine product, but in order to get people to it, it has to be far better than the incumbent. Bing isn’t, so it will never beat Google. Google+ isn’t, so it will never beat Facebook (or Twitter, for that matter).
But Google is trying to cheat this system. By shoving it in our faces, they think that they can make their product catch on without the need to be above and beyond better than the incumbent.
I think we’ll see that this approach still won’t work. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter work because they evolved based on how users were naturally using them. Google+ is trying to make the users evolve to fit into the network they created. It’s unnatural.
Google Plus has another major problem, IMHO: It’s far too easy to build a follower base there. Which is not to say followers aren’t nice (really, they’re great), but there’s no feasible reason I should have 3,000 new followers in the past 30 days, when I’ve only posted five times since January 20, and my most recent post was Feb. 3. That is not natural, no matter how many circles I might possibly be in, and suggests spam issues. The way circles are set up now discourages engagement on a person-to-person level, because ultimately people and companies don’t want a follower, but a “relationship,” even if it’s one-sided. But to MG’s point, I’ll say this — I wouldn’t say the problem is fully “solved” yet. Keep in mind that people didn’t see a need for Twitter at first, and Tumblr came about in an already-crowded market. Google’s problem is that G+ is not different enough from other parts of the market. They didn’t need to make a new Facebook/Twitter hybrid. They needed to make Pinterest. — Ernie @ SFB