“Google+ is a ghost town” – Everyone.
“Google+ is putting a hold on acquisitions” – Us.
“Blah blah blah blah” – Everyone else.
These are all things that people have been saying since Google+ launched last year. Some of these thoughts and feelings are based solely on what people can wrap their heads around, and that Google must be trying to compete with Facebook, therefore setting its bar at 950M-plus users, and a movie starring Justin Timberlake.
Sorry, folks, it’s just not reality whatsoever, even if it makes for good headlines and coffee-shop discussions. I’ve spent a lot of time using Google+, studying Google+ and most importantly, speaking with the folks at Google behind the platform. What I can tell you is that Google is extremely happy with the socialization of its business, products and image.
Google+ is not a “social network”, it’s a platform to socialize all of the products that Google currently offers, such as Drive, search, and YouTube.
I don’t feel like Google should have to defend its platform play, even though the Valley loves to put companies into a corner and expect outrageous things from them to justify the time and resources that they spend on something. The thing is, Google can’t be held to those same rules, because they don’t have to be.
It’s not a cockiness that permeates in Mountain View, it’s a quiet, heads-down approach to creating things that people will like, and most importantly, use. It’s not an overnight thing. Ask any company. Simply because Google is so large and known for one thing, search, it has a big target on its back when it tries to do just about anything other than that.
Today, Google’s Vic Gundotra shared some Google+ numbers:
This week we also hit an important milestone–over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+. It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+ (plus.google.com and mobile app).
If you’re sour on what Google is building with +, then this probably means absolutely nothing to you. If that’s the case, then you’re really missing out on a great story of a gigantic company playing small ball and making serious changes late in the game for the better.
So the numbers aren’t 950M+ like Facebook, big deal. Other people talk about how their friends aren’t on Google+, so it must suck. Well, that might be the case for many people, but it’s not for me and many others. I firmly believe that Google+ has nailed the right approach to sharing on the Internet. The concept of circles, choosing who you’d like to share with rather than thinking about who you want to keep things away from, makes things dead-simple.
Still though, you might not be impressed or ever use the Google+ stream page, and that’s OK. It’s very likely that if you use any Google products at all, you’re using Google+ unknowingly, and it’s probably making your experience much better.
Forget Hangouts for a second, which is the platform that many concede is intriguing. How about photos? The photo experience on Google+ is absolutely fantastic, and the company bolstered it by acquiring Snapseed today.
What does all of this mean? Nothing, if you already have your mind made up about Google and Google+. If you’re open minded and like a deep story about many moving parts, then you’ll want to start paying serious attention. It’s not going away, and there’s no special red phone that Larry Page will call to drop the platform.
Google+ is Google. Deal :)
[Photo credit: Flickr]