Why Google+ isn't as great as it can be?This is my letter to Google to help them with Google+. I've been thinking a lot about this and I think I have some ideas to help, but before I dive into ideas to help, let's start with what's wrong. If you don't understand the problem, how can you solve it?
Problem #1 - Social Networks are no longer about the number of users. That was Social V1.0. It's now Social V2.0 and it's all about engagement. According to a recent article, Google+ users spend 3 minutes a month on Google+ vs. 405 minutes on Facebook for Facebook users. Touting the number of users isn't going to help engagement.
Problem #2 - Focus on users, not businesses - Google+ adds value to businesses and marketers because it impacts search results. But where does it add value to users? Sure it's got a couple of bells and whistles, but the reality is that it is not enough to encourage growth. Compare that approach with Facebook's approach. For Facebook they focused on users almost to the point of neglecting businesses. They focus on engagement (e.g. expanded open graph). They built a large and engaged population and then businesses flocked there. They had no search engine to help them grow. Here's a great article from Social Media Examiner titled "Why Major Marketers are Moving to Google+". Can you see the problem here? Why should I, as a user, ditch my friends and pages on Facebook and have to start all over again on Google+? Will I do that because major marketers are moving to Google+?
Problem #3 - Google waited too long to be that "fast follower". The reality is that Facebook got so big and folks were so engaged, where are they going to find the time to spend on a very similar social network. The advantage of being a follower is that you can fix the mistakes of the prior market entrant. Google did that, but they did it too slowly. Folks will accept a inferior design/product simply because of the network effect. Ask Microsoft and Apple about this.
Now it's time for solutions:
- Solution #1 - Be different - Talk to Pinterest about this. Talk to instagram. Don't be a me too product.
- Solution #2 - Open your wallet - Buy startups and leave them alone and learn from them. You don't always know better. Don't wait too long. I remember YouTube and Google Video.
- Solution #3 - Stop thinking about search results and businesses and start thinking about people. Nobody cares about search results. They care about sharing their lives.
What are your thoughts?