Now, almost 12 months after its release date, we have a look at the successes and failures of Google+ and what the future may hold for Google’s latest social offering.
Only time will tell whether or not Google+ truly takes off and becomes the big player in the social network market. But early assessments on the success of Google+ show mixed results.
Google initially launched the network in June 2011 to a limited number of users and the early signs for Google+ were good, as when the site was fully opened up to the public in September 2011, figures from web data company Experian Hitwise revealed a massive spike in visitors, going from a million unique users to 15 million in one week!
However the early popularity did not last, as more than half of the new 14 million users did not return to use the site during the following week and since September, Google+ has lost nearly half of the visitors who initially came to the site.
This raises the question; why was Google unable to retain the early interest in Google+? To answer this question, let’s first have a look at the site’s usability; here are my pros and cons of Google+:
Pro: Gorgeous UI
Many Google+ users have commented on the sleekness of its user interface. It’s clean, it’s easy-to-use and it’s not cluttered.
Con: Noise in the Stream
Google+ is designed to minimize noise in the stream through the use of circles, but it is still too noisy for most users. The big issue is that posts are pushed to the top whenever there’s a new comment, something that most users think is unnecessary. There are also still issues with collapsing posts with long comment threads.
User reaction to Circles, Google+’s friend list feature, has been very positive overall. Users have commented that it’s the easiest system on the market for putting friends into groups, making it easier to share posts with just your business colleagues or your family.
Con: No “wall”
Instead you “share” your posts with circles directly on your own feed. What this means is there is essentially no point in having a profile as people will not be visiting your wall to share with you.
Overall, Google+’s usability is good, however its failure to build upon the initial interest means that people are already becoming bored of playing on it as a limited number of people they know who use it. This is obviously a huge problem as people will not be interested in using a social networking site that nobody visits.
In the end, the main problem with Google+ is Facebook. According to dreamgrow.com, Facebook still owns 63% of the market share compared to Google+’s 0.55% and with the majority of social networkers set in their ways, Google will need to find a way to convince the vast majority of Facebook users to switch, otherwise Facebook will still reign king.
Share your thoughts on Google+ below.