Google+ Thoughts

Google+ has been out for 3 weeks now, and what has started out as an Emerald Sea has turned into a tidal wave of excitement and opinions.  The first night Google+ opened up invites, I posted to Twitter, Facebook, and to everyone at Clearspring that I had invites, and after 2 hours had handed out over 100 invites.  I had never seen anything like that, including when GMail launched.  The fervor has not died down either, as many of our publishers have asked us what we think about +1 and Google+.  Publishers who were so skeptical of +1 and were taking a wait and see approach are now are clamoring for the button.  As a launch partner for +1, adoption was steady at first but now we see “hockey stick” growth in installs and clicks.

What does this all mean?  

I have been telling publishers that Google+ is off to a promising start.  I think they definitely got their video chat product, “Hangouts” right, and I will cover that in a future blog post.  Circles is great and the overall look and feel is awesome.  Early adopters are loving it because it is a bright shinny object, and because “it is not Facebook.”  However, it is still early and the jury is still out if mainstream users will start using Google+.  Publishers are intrigued because of the influence +1 has on search results, but it is still early here as well to know if the impact will matter.

Will Google+ kill/replace/hurt Facebook?  

Not that I can see in the near or mid term.  Nothing lasts forever in the online world of social, but Facebook is not going anywhere yet.  From what I can see, the online behavior that has changed for me the most is not my engagement with Facebook, but rather my engagement with Twitter.  I have posted less to Twitter and more to Google+, I still consume my Twitter feed via Tweetdeck, but I am more engaged with the people I follow on Google+.  The nice thing about Google+ was that it was like starting anew, where I had a clean slate of people I could choose to follow and friend.

Google+ has been an early success and for early adopters a salve to our Facebook fatigue.  The integration into GMail and other Google services keeps Google+ in the front of your mind.  I think there are many key moments ahead to see if Google can build on the early success.  One of those was the launch of an iPhone app.  The second will be support for Google Apps accounts so companies and colleges can take advantage of circles and hangouts to increase productivity.  The third moment will be when Google releases an API for Google+ and developers start building apps for the service.  It’s off to a good start, but time will tell if Google+ can co-exist in the world of Twitter and Facebook.  

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