The majority of people will tell you that they’ve signed up for Google +. When you ask if they are actually using it, they will tell you no. Unlike Facebook, Google+ has had a high attrition rate but has not been able to activate its members. Could this be a sign of demise for Google’s next-generation social network? Let’s see what is in store for the future of Google Plus.
Let’s look back at Google Wave. This was introduced as an application that will compete against Twitter — offering so much more than the mainstay network. Once again, people signed up but really didn’t know how to get started on it. It was easier to go back to Twitter, where they had established their reputation and a following. Google discontinued its Wave project in 2010.
So, what’s the issue with Google? The company has great ideas and know what it takes to create a social network — but, why can’t they get the membership behind it? It’s because they haven’t been able to make it go viral. Look at Facebook. When it was first introduced, it was for college students. I remember receiving a call from a friend at another school, who saw that my school was now added. He said that I had to sign up for it now. We didn’t really know what it was, but it was a cool idea to be part of something new.
The Future of Google Plus
Google+ doesn’t have this sense of interest. While it initially began as invite-only, today, anyone can sign up and become a member, so there is no exclusivity. Pinterest, on the other hand, has done a great job of attracting new members with its invite-only access. This makes people feel like it is something exclusive, and they need to be a part of it. While its simply perception, it is important to the activation phase.
Many people have extensive networks on Facebook, and while they grumble about the latest privacy changes on the network, they are reluctant to shift over to Google+ because it took years to create these networks. How are they going to convince everyone to follow them over to Google+? Furthermore, they have a great deal of information on Facebook — many people joined when they were in college, so it is a collage of all of their favorite college memories. There is no way to upload this history to Google+.
To make Google+ successful, Google needs to shed its corporate strategy for the product and think outside of the box. It’s important that they are able to make a connection to a need that people have that is not yet fulfilled by other networks. It’s great that you can video chat with several friends — but really, there are other applications that offer that. Once Google determines how they can fill in the blank, there is a true opportunity for Google+ to grow in engagement and activation among its members. Until then, Google will have to prepare itself that Google+ may land the same fate as Google Wave.
Marie Jones has been helping companies establish their presence on social media networks for the past 10 years. She writes for various sources including Degree Jungle a resource for college students. She is well-versed in the latest technologies and marketing strategies for social media, using this to help augment business performance.