The Success of Google+ Very Much Depends on its Mobile Implementation
As you have heard by now, Google seems to have reached the conclusion that it is time they created their own Facebook. No, I do not mean their own social network, I mean their own Facebook. Google+, at least on first glance is a carbon copy of Facebook. It looks the same, it acts the same, it uses the same terminology, and most users who first access Google+ end up asking the same question, “Why use this as opposed to just using Facebook”?
After spending some time on the new social platform, there are a few obvious things that stick out. For one, Google has to fix the issue that when someone comments on a post, the post moves to the top of the stream. People in my stream are commenting on Scoble’s posts three, four, and five hours after he posts them and there is no reason the post should appear on top as if it is news.
Other strange things include the bizarre invitation method, but from what I have gathered, this is a temporary solution until Google re-enables the invitation system.
Lastly, some of the settings are still very unclear, such as the ability to delete your Picasa account from Google+ once you connect the two. As far as I can tell, you need to go into each album, one by one, and change the privacy settings for that album.
The one thing that separates this launch from others in the past is the role that mobile is playing and will play in the success of Google+ as a platform.
Google+, as opposed to other social platforms, launched simultaneously on the Web and mobile. The Google+ Web app is well designed and acts as much like a native app as any Web app I have tried. However, it is missing a lot of functionality and many things you can do on the Website are not available on the Web app, such as uploading a photo to name one example. This is of course understandable, but it needs to change.
In addition, Google+ launched along with its own native Android app, which based on the video below, is both impressive and rich in features. The problem is, I don’t know about you, but based on my personal searches of the Android Market, the app is nowhere to be found (Update: I found it on a Google Search). No, it is not featured, it fact, it is not even in the top 50 list. Now, I am assuming this will change in the coming hours and days as the service becomes more widely available, but nothing will change the fact that Google+ was available to thousands of people if not more, and the accompanying app was M.I.A.
The iPhone app, despite the latest numbers proving that Android is the dominant player right now, is important for the launch and success of Google+. So where is it? In the process of being approved by Apple. Now I get that Apple and Google are competitors but something tells me Google could have spoken to Apple and expedited the approval of the Google+ app prior to the release of the platform (even of it is a limited release).
Here is the thing, Google clearly recognizes just how important mobile is, and there are various proofs of that. Last month, the company announced new features for their Web search interface, including voice search and search by image. Both features were available on mobile for months.
In addition, by the very nature of Google+, it is clear that it was built and designed with the mobile phone in mind. The notification system, which is actually pretty great, will only get better with mobile push notifications. The ability to share and view posts based on location, well that is clearly something perfect for the mobile environment. The list goes on, but the point is, this platform is good now but with the proper mobile execution, it can be great.
Does Facebook have what to worry about? Well with previous Google launches in the social sphere, I would have said point blank no, but in this case, despite my initial impressions in the first five minutes of using Google+, I truly believe that if Google gets its mobile game together, it can definitely give Facebook a run for its money.
If you are the type to think “Facebook is too big, no one can compete”, well just look at Myspace and their sell out yesterday. A company once valued at well over $580 million that sells for $35 million. How is that for proof that anything and everything is open when it comes to the Web and technology?