The verdict is rolling in. Commentator after commentator is ruling Google+ a failed experiment.
Google+ is dead. At worst, in the coming months, it will literally fade away to nothing or exist as Internet plankton. At best, it will be to social networking what Microsoft’s Bing is to online search: perfectly adequate; fun to stumble onto once in awhile; and completely irrelevant to the mainstream web.
To be clear, I do not buy the beta argument anymore. G+ still being in beta is like Broadway’s “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” still being in previews. It has premiered. Months have passed. Audiences have tried it. Critics have weighed in. It is a show — just not a very entertaining one.
Worse Than a Ghost Town
As it stands, my Circles are sparse. The stream of updates has basically run dry — reduced to one buddy who regularly writes. My initial excitement about signing on and inviting people to join me has waned. Nowadays, I apparently get tired just thinking about it.
I paraphrased Rainbow Russell in the title, saying its not even haunted, because it’s a ghost town that was never really inhabited.
And this is another proof of the Rule Of Switching:
To get someone to drop an existing application that does X for a new application that does X, the new application must do X an order of magnitude better, because the costs of switching are too high otherwise.
And also known as ‘is the juice worth the squeeze?’
And, of course, with social apps the costs are the highest.
What do we expect Google will do? The only caveat I have about the imminent death of Google+ is what I wrote at the time of the launch:
Stowe Boyd, Life Is A Mosaic, Not A Monolith
Apps are the tiles of the new mosaic, our composite life online.
And Google+ is a deft straddle, with one foot in the old world and the other in the new. Google+ is currently a browser based system, but it is relatively easy to imagine the core functionality implemented in a next generation Android, and all the tools — like Circles and Hangouts — accessed as complementary apps, along with dozens or hundreds of others built by Google or a growing ecology of developers.
Of course, Apple will respond in kind, and is perhaps a step or two ahead with its Twitter partnership, and its plan to integrate Twitter into iOS 5. So we can expect a similar flowering of iOS 5 apps that build on a core of social capabilities, and that will allow app developers to leverage profiles, following, streams, and other foundational social componentry at the OS level.
By lowering the core elements of sociality into the infrastructure, Google and Apple will be setting the stage for a new generation of app development, and therefore, user experience. Which will mean an acceleration of the transition for us, as users, from monolith to mosaic.
Google+ shows that Google is going to make that transition, and it will be Apple and Google that will be defining the next ten years of the social revolution, as a result. Facebook and Microsoft may be fated to fall into each others arms, just to catch up, or survive at all.
Of course, the failure of Google+ as a monolithic competitor to Facebook, today, doesn’t bode well for Google’s future efforts, when it might be able to shift into a different modality, with apps as the tiles in a mosaic.
They better roll out a socialized version of Android pretty quickly, or they will have fumbled the future again.
- The Influencers Verdict: the Google+ example (loiclemeur.com) — Loic says its too early to tell if Google+, you need to wait for the average people to use it not just early adopters , he’s having a great time in Google+, and asks Reimold ‘who are you, anyway?’. Not convincing to me, Loic.
- What Facebook needs to do in order to populate the Subscriptions ghost town (thenextweb.com) — Macale suggests that Facebook Subscriptions is an attempt to adopt Google+ semantics, and its not being adopted widely: a failure, or too soon to say?