Google made a big splash with its social network, Google+, and ever since, the tech world has been calling it a Facebook killer. But for all the similarities, Facebook and Google+ are actually very different creatures, and Google+ instead seems poised to threaten the popularity of trendier social networks like Twitter and Tumblr.
Here are a few reasons why Facebook has no need to fear this newcomer:
- Google+ emphasizes interaction and discovery among strangers
Facebook has always been about connecting with people you already know, to the point that adding someone you don’t know on Facebook is usually just plain weird. Meanwhile, Google+ gives mobile users the option to see public content that people have posted nearby. You don’t have to know someone to follow them on Twitter or Tumblr — you just need to find them interesting. The same is true for Google+, which makes it easy to create special circles just for people you don’t actually know.
- Google+ has the viral factor
The retweet and reblog are two features that have helped to make Twitter and Tumblr the most viral social networks on the web. This also set the stage for Twitter and Tumblr users to become influential tastemakers by exposing them to increasingly large audiences. Naturally, Google recognized this by taking a page from these services and adding the ability to easily re-share content to one’s own Google+ stream, setting the new network up for viral success. Facebook has always been about sharing your content, and not the content of others.
- Let’s face it — a large portion of Facebook’s population will never jump ship
The big blue social network has become the land of grandmas and tweens, while Twitter and Tumblr have maintained their “street cred” as the trendy, cutting-edge social networks for the new media-savvy generations. There is going to be less of a learning curve (and less fear) for users who immigrate to Google+ from these services.
- Google has a deep pool of services just begging for Google+ integration
You can’t really blog on Facebook, and you can’t upload an entire photo album to Twitter. But Google+ has the ability to do all of this in one place. Google has already integrated Picasa and Google+, giving users unlimited photo storage on their Flickr-like photo sharing service, and the built-in messaging capabilities incorporate the best features of gChat. So it would only make sense for Google to step up and incorporate its other widely used social services — namely, YouTube, Google Reader, Google Buzz, and Blogger. Just think of the possibilities if Google were to roll all of these services together into one giant, one-stop social network for photos, video, blogging/microblogging, RSS feeds, news, and one-on-one communication. If this happens, Google will have succeeded in finally creating the only social network where people can stay connected to all of their various social circles (pun intended) in one central location.