Given the strength of Google when it comes to launching a new product, the fact that the web giant is struggling to find stable footing in the social networking world comes as no surprise considering the competition they are up against.
The fundamental idea of Google+ is that it knits your community of friends and ‘acquaintances’ into closer circles and allows you to interact on a much more controlled level. You can say exactly what content about your life is displayed to each of your ‘groups’ and just like in real life situations circles can overlap. This is what Google deem their niche.. but is it unique enough to pull you away from facebook, especially when all of your friends and 800 million others are already on there?
By keeping it’s new social networking site invite only, Google was hoping to raise anticipation of Google+. It didn’t work as planned so Google decided to oen up the platform to the general public and allow anyone to join. At first it seemed like it had worked, visitors to the site jumped 1000% over the space of a day. Since the free for all on September 20th the site has seen a downturn in traffic by a massive 60 per cent.
Web analytics firm Chatika released a report last week that offers a theory for the drop in numbers. “The supply of users for social media sites is limited. To survive you must stand out and provide a service that others do not.”
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google thinks that there are differences that make the two products stand apart. “Now we have a product called Google Plus, which is doing extremely well, which looks like a worthwhile competitor in a slightly different space, with more privacy controls, for example, than Facebook,” Mr Schmidt said in a recent interview. Additions to the social media tool, including new +1 buttons next to all Google search results to help increase synergy between Google’s search function and Google+, as well as introducing a ‘hangouts’ section of the Google+ site, have helped to keep users interested.
That said, Chatika says that it must keep up the changes.
“Perhaps if Google can accelerate their current pace of innovation on their social network offering, Google+ could becoming a competitive alternative to its arch-rival, Facebook,” the report says.
“Otherwise, given Facebook’s clout and reputation of rapid innovation, Google+ might just be left in the dust.”