September the 20th, 2011. A date that was in all of our agendas, a day that everyone had been waiting for. I myself can remember what I was doing at that exact same time – sitting in front of the internet waiting for a virtual revolution to happen. Still don’t know what I’m talking about ? Google plus of course ! Stylized as Google+, this social media website was created by the internet giant Google to take on other social media websites that are far better organized and user-friendly.
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but the whole situation really does beg the question : what the hell happened ? Now, in terms of performance and popularity, one just simply cannot overlook Google+. It is second-largest social networking website IN THE WORLD after Facebook with over 540 million monthly active users !
Even Google’s Google+ Mobile App is popular, and comes in at 4th place for most used apps. But the problem is, unless you can’t establish a solid internet presence that ensures durability, you can have as many users as you want and it wouldn’t make a difference. Do you still have a Bebo or Myspace account ? Exactly.
So basically there are a load of good points to Google+ but way more bad points – although the bad points are mostly technical hiccups or recent decisions made by Google and don’t actually reflect the social media service itself.
Let’s start of with the good stuff. Just like any social media, users need to be able to identify others and let others identify them – and what social media website would be complete without a profile creator ! But the advantage with Google+’s profile is that it viable on so many different platforms, like Gmail or Youtube ( but we’ll speak more of the dreaded Youtube-comment controversy later on).
Having a profile and username that links all of your different creations on to one solid platform is a mighty plus (or Google plus, should I say) – people can find you in a more simpler fashion, and you’re just a click away from accessing another platform with your same username/profile. This is probably one of the strongest points that makes up Google+.
But it’s a shame that I can’t just stop there – Google+ is great, everyone is using it, nothing else to see here, keep on driving. It’s a shame because I’d like to say “Just like other websites, Google+ has its ups and downs” – it’s just not possible, Google+ just seems to annoy me, and with reason.
Do we seriously need another social networking site? Anyone has the freedom to see how many people online can accept their fad, sign up to their website or share their content, but Google+ just seems to be everywhere. Gmail is constantly sending out Google+ emails trying to entice you back, even though after a few hours of learning how the site works you know it’s not for you. Google+ came up with the “circles” concept – basically it’s like Facebook groups, you can’t see what is being shared in the other circles. But with a few clicks, it’s easy to overcome this technical obstacle and therefore the so-called privacy ensured by Google evaporates into cyberspace. And let’s not forget the Youtube-comment controversy, something that seems as if its here to stay – for good.
Basically it was decided that whenever you wanted to leave a Youtube comment, you’d need to identify yourself via Google+ first – whilst this is a good measure against internet trolls and so on, it’s a breach of internet freedom, it forces you to sign up for Google+ and, if you have multiple accounts, reminds you every time you connect to Youtube which account you want to use (because apparently it’s compulsory in order to watch a video?). It can be clicked away of course, but it’s extremely annoying, even more so when you sit back, look at the figures, and see how much Google+ has accomplished.
Google+ has come a long way, and does seem to have a solid base of users – the spreadsheets don’t lie. The question is: just exactly how long will Google+ be around?
Donna Lee Jane is a social marketing Manager at DearJane.com.au. Donna naturally has a strong opinion on the Goodle+ and Youtube authentication land grab and shares her argument with us today.