Print 17 comment(s) - last by cjohnson2136.. on Oct 17 at 5:11 PM

Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz responded to Google+'s reception and ability to compete with Facebook and Twitter

Google+'s release back in late June had many Google fans and social networking enthusiasts buzzing about a potential Facebook rival. The number of members grew quickly for an invite-only service, hitting 20 million visitors by late July.

But as time rolled on, the buzz died off and many resumed their daily Facebook or Twitter-related digital lives while Google+ fell fairly silent. Reports stated that there were many accounts, but hardly enough activity.

Over the months, Google released new features such as games, a search option, Hangouts-related changes (Hangouts on your phone, Hangouts On Air, Hangouts with Extras, etc.), and finally made the social network available to everyone without an invite.

Now that there has been ample time since the social network's release to observe its position in the competition against the likes of Facebook, which is very feature-heavy, and Twitter, which prefers to keep it simple, Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz responded to Google+'s reception and ability to compete.

"We will compete on features -- including simplicity," said Horowitz. "We are absolutely in a feature race, and I think we will run that race. If I had to say what fraction of Google+ is launched right now, we've just got the very basic foundation in place. Profiles, circle editor and stream, that's sort of the minimum viable set of features that you need to start doing interesting things."

In regards to the number of people using Google+ and the actual activity taking place on the site, Horowitz said that outside speculation "can't grasp the 'dark matter' of Google+," with dark matter referring to private sharing. This private sharing, according to Horowitz, contributes to two-thirds of all Google+ activity.

"I think in the early going there was a lot of looking for an alternative [to Facebook, Twitter, etc.]," said Horowitz. "But I think increasingly the people who are using Google+ are the people using Google. They're not looking for an alternative to anything, they're looking for a better experience on Google."

Google+ is integrated right into Gmail, and can be found in the tabs on the search engine's page. Horowitz even mentioned a Google+ button on Google Maps to send directions to friends and family.

But Horowitz said Google+ isn't just a utility that can be found within other Google services.

"That's one rendering of it," said Horowitz. "But there's a stream, there's a circle, a profile, there's Hangouts, there's games. It is both a means of communication and a destination."

Horowitz added that new features would be released to Google+ on a weekly basis through the end of the year.

Source: All Things D

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No Activity
By lonechicken on 10/13/2011 2:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
"...and finally made the social network available to everyone without an invite."

That's what killed it for a lot of people I talked to on this. After the initial rush, there was way too long of a lag time before it was opened up for everyone. So our streams were all static because 1/10th of our FB friends were on Google+, which meant much less activity.

...And no, "you shoulda invited all your friends then" is not a realistic solution.

RE: No Activity
By cjohnson2136 on 10/13/2011 2:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
And no, "you shoulda invited all your friends then" is not a realistic solution.

It depends on how many friends you have. For me I did do that such solution. For me inviting my 100 friends over from FB to G+ was easy and allowed me to delete my FB account. My wife it would not have been realistic with her 1500 FB friends. It just depends on how many friends you are talking about.

RE: No Activity
By MeesterNid on 10/13/2011 3:27:57 PM , Rating: 5
"...her 1500 FB friends "

ROFL! I got a good laugh out of that!

I propose that Facebook change the naming from friends to "soulless avatar of a person I've never met, don't know the name of and will never care about" to make it easier to understand what people mean when they talk about those connections.

RE: No Activity
By MozeeToby on 10/13/2011 4:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, at least in Google+ you could put them all in a circle so named (or maybe you'd have to go with "SAOAPINMDKTNOAWNCA" if there are character limits).

RE: No Activity
By cjohnson2136 on 10/13/2011 4:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Actually they are friends. I didn't believe that either but I could point out any person and she can name them but face picture only, where she meet them, and last time she talked to them. A lot of her friends are friends from school that she does see but still stays in contact with. So just because you can't have that many connections is not the same for everyone.

RE: No Activity
By AerieC on 10/14/2011 1:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and I can probably name everyone from my high school class by picture only, and I could also tell you the last time I talked to them. That doesn't mean I'm friends with every one of them.

Acquaintances != friends.

RE: No Activity
By cjohnson2136 on 10/17/2011 5:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
yes and i used the terms friends because that is what facebook has decided to call all of a person's connections

Private Sharing is the Secret Sauce of G+
By sirdowny on 10/14/2011 9:09:51 AM , Rating: 2
This private sharing, according to Horowitz, contributes to two-thirds of all Google+ activity.

This is exactly the reason I use G+. G+ is the easiest, most consistent way to share pretty much anything (links, photos (even directly from phone via Instant Upload), videos, etc). It makes it easy for the sender and the recipient. And as someone who uses pretty much every Google product (mail, calendar, voice, docs, etc), G+ is pretty well integrated across the products.

Having said that, I too read that article on the Google employee's rant on platforms and I'm sure that's 100% true. There's a lot of integration that should be there, that isn't; and it's a head-scratcher to us users. But that's all under-the-hood... From a user perspective, G+ offers really good integration and makes sharing super easy (even if G+ was initially a kludge).

But yeah, back to my original point, like 95% of my activity on G+ is private sharing. I'm on facebook too, but I'm so sick of the generic blast posts people post that are completely irrelevant and uninteresting to me.

Also farmville and mafia wars - really? Find something better to do with your time.

RE: Private Sharing is the Secret Sauce of G+
By cjohnson2136 on 10/14/2011 9:55:31 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why I am happy how G+ implemented Games there. It is completely separate from your normal stream.

RE: Private Sharing is the Secret Sauce of G+
By sirdowny on 10/14/2011 10:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. But have you played any of their games and liked them? I've only tried one and thought it was lame... Honest question (I want to like them)...

By cjohnson2136 on 10/14/2011 10:11:21 AM , Rating: 2
I like the games like Bejeweled and other puzzle like games, sometimes I play the poker.

Read Steve's Google Platform Rant
By Iaiken on 10/13/2011 3:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
One Google developer accidentally posted an internal discussion post to the public Google+ site that explains in great detail why Facebook will continue to outpace G+.

Basically it all comes down to "platformization" or the ability to turn a system like Facebook, G+ or Amazon Web Services into a platform for other people to build upon.

Facebook didn't turn into a cesspool of crappy games trying to suck money out of you and products that talk directly to the people who "like" them. Third parties did all of that, they wrote those crappy games, they actively engaged the people who "like" their products and they did it faster and in more ways that Facebook ever could have if they tried to do it themselves itself. All Facebook had to do was make it so that they could have access to the audience and have audience members push them upon their friends.

Frankly, the absence of all that crap is why I greatly prefer G+ to Facebook.

By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 5:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
I was just about to link this, glad I caught your post.

It is a fascinating look at the differences between platforms and products. It is also an interesting look at Amazon, I had no idea their corporate culture (and Bezos) was like that.

140mil users my rear
By vision33r on 10/14/2011 11:48:39 AM , Rating: 2
Larry Page claimed in the quarterly results that there are 140mil active users now on G+.

Which is complete BS.

Every research firm out there has concluded that G+ is contracting and losing activity.

RE: 140mil users my rear
By cjohnson2136 on 10/14/2011 12:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
Except how are they determining activity if people post privately. How would the research firms have access to those private messages?

User Fallout
By Mitch101 on 10/13/2011 2:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
I checked my facebook for the first time in probably 4-5 weeks It never caught on with me and noticed there seems to be a lot less chatter every time I take a look.

Dont believe they have gone to Google plus but I suspect people are becoming like me and just not using it any more the shine has worn off. I see no farm, mafia, games messages like when I first registered.

So while these sights might brag about their user count I'm thinking their user activity will just die off. I honestly dont follow it enough to know if they are still growing maybe in user count but not sure on activity.

google+ is too public
By abzillah on 10/14/2011 1:19:30 AM , Rating: 2
I do have FB and google+, and I was excited that google+ came out, but they ruined it from the beginning. I couldn't personalize my account. You have to use your real name, and everyone from my gmail list was automatically added to my account. I didn't like how all my google accounts were added to my google+.
It's time for another social service, but one that is very user friendly, where the user has control over everything in their account. To be able to be anyone you want without having to use your real name, and only add those who you want and no one else knowing that you have an account unless you invite them personally.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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