Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. They have all been compared to Google+ from the start. Will Google+ kill any one, or all of these other social networking platforms? Clearly none of the big 3 networks are going to die off any time soon like Myspace has, however Google+ could erode their dominance in their respected social networking niches.
It’s really hard to compare Google+ to any one of them, simply because it is actually a combination of all three. What Google has seemingly done is take the best social features from all three of these networks and merged them into a new service, one that will likely grow into a powerhouse social network in the coming months ahead.
Twitter allows sharing with the public like Google+ does. The problem is that users are limited to just 140 characters. How much can you really say in what amounts to an average of 25-30 words? The system is somewhat flawed and actually was originally based upon the text messaging system on unsophisticated cell phones. Times have changed, and so has the appetite for social networking. Not only are users limited in the length of a post, but also in the material they can post. Try posting an image, or video directly on Twitter without the use of a 3rd party website. Good luck with that! After a post is made, if someone wants to reply they do it directly to the poster, making it nearly impossible for others to find. Google+ is basically a Twitter on steroids, a Twitter which allows users to define who views their posts, and a Twitter that merges in further features from Facebook.
No doubt Facebook is a power house of a network. With 750 million active accounts, it represents nearly 12% of the world population. The problem with Facebook is that it’s clunky. The layout is a mess, and in my opinion users are ready for a change. Although Facebook allows you to choose who sees what content, it isn’t as intuitive or spelled out how to do so. Unlike Facebook, users can follow your public posts on Google+, while you don’t need to follow them back. On Facebook, if I were to follow 50 tech writers I felt as if I was clogging up my stream, missing important posts by friends and family. Google+ takes this guilt away from it’s users with a simple user interface, which quickly allows a user to switch between their various circle’s streams. When it comes to a new internet service, the user interface is what often drives adoption. Google+ beats Facebook in this area by far.
There are several social networks out there that cater to a niche. Linkedin caters to those career minded people looking to network with others in their industry. Google+ may take market share from LinkedIn because of it’s ease to group business contacts, bosses, employees, etc into their own circle, sharing what you want with each individual group, while also individually viewing the streams of each group.
In conclusion I think it’s safe to say that none of these other networks will totally be destroyed by the emergence of Google+, however, some more than others, will likely lose market share to the new social network. Twitter, in my opinion, has the most to fear, however, competition often drives innovation and creativity, meaning that any one of these services could “+1″ Google at any time.
Google+ reached 10m users in 16 days. Want to know how long it took Facebook and Twitter?
Google+ took a mere 16 days to hit 10 million users. By comparison, both Twitter and Facebook took over 2 years to hit that milestone, requiring 780 days and 852 days respectively.
Leon Håland has kindly put together this graph, which helps put Google+’s hockey-stick growth into perspective, compared to its social networking counterparts:
Whilst there’s little doubt that Google+’s growth is impressive, it’s probably also worth noting that it did have a considerable head-start on both Twitter and Facebook, which were both starting from scratch – as a social network, as a brand…as everything.
Google, on the other hand, has thirteen years’ growth behind it and is one of the most recognizable digital brands in the world. It already had a mammoth user-base across its plethora of products, so it’s perhaps not all that surprising that it could notch up 10m users in around a fortnight.
Google+ is thought to have reached the 10 million users mark around the 13th of July, and it had doubled-up again by about a week later. That’s 20 million users in three weeks.
Google’s latest attempt at creating a social network seems to be paying off, and it has so far received pretty favorable reviews. The Next Web carried out a quick survey of our readers in early July, and we found that two-thirds of users preferred Google+ to Facebook, with less than half saying they preferred it to Twitter. The latter was perhaps an unfair comparison, given that Twitter is a different social beast to Google+.
But what about LinkedIn? We wrote earlier this month that Google+ may actually be a bigger threat to LinkedIn than it is to Facebook or Twitter. For the record, LinkedIn was launched in May 2003, and it didn’t hit the 10m members mark until April 2007. It now has over 100m members.
Interesting statistics. It’s still early doors for Google+ – will it continue on its upwards trajectory, or will it begin to plateau once the hype subsides? Only time will tell.