Five Hurdles Google+ Still Faces in the War Between the Social Networks

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Google+ launched to much fanfare in June and there were all sorts of people proclaiming either its superiority to Facebook or what an utter failure it would be. Since June, the social networking platform has added 25 million users, but there isn't a whole lot of buzz about it and using it still feels like an afterthought.

Several people I've spoken with tell me that they often forget to use it. I've thought on a few occasions that if I had something important to post -- a link to a blog post on the Houston Press, for example -- I would immediately go to Twitter and Facebook, but think, "Oh, right, I guess I should add it to Google+ too?"

There is a lot to like about Google+ as well. The video conferencing, group chat and ease of use in creating and managing circles are impressive. But, setting "buzz" aside for a moment, there are still some legitimate issues that leave me concerned about its future and wondering why I should even bother continuing to mess with it at all. Some of them could be fixed. Others are a little trickier. Here are five hurdles Google+ faces in the battle for the hearts and minds of social networkers.

5. Familiarity
One of the biggest problems Google+ will continue to face is the simple issue of users not being in the habit of using it to post updates or look for updates from friends. Facebook and Twitter, for many who use various social networking platforms, are automatic. Branching out, YouTube, Flickr and FourSquare are all widely used. Google+ would seem to have a pretty big mountain to climb to become a habit for online social networkers.

4. Open Windows
This is more a minor annoyance than a real issue, but when is Google going to stop forcing a new window or tab to be opened with virtually every click of a mouse? Just because I'm in Gmail at the moment and click on Google+ doesn't mean I want a new window to open. Let me decide how I want to navigate pages. That's why God invented the right-click.

3. The Name Game
It's been widely reported that Google+ recently kicked large numbers of people off of the network because of odd or suspicious names, accusing many of them of masquerading as a business. User names and monikers are so common on the Web, it seems antiquated to not allow people to use them, but if there is a real concern that the site will be populated by businesses, create fan pages like Facebook did and circumvent the problem.

2. Google Apps All Linked
One of the biggest and most substantial issues, at least for me, facing Google is that your Google+ account is linked to every other Google app including Gmail. When you do want to delete your Google+ profile, as was explained to me by a friend who did it, you have two choices: 1) delete your Google+ profile and 2) delete your entire Google account. Also, when you do have multiple Gmail accounts -- many of us do -- trying to make sure you are in the right one and managing multiple logins is a pain.

1. I Don't Want Everyone Following Me
Since I got on Google+ about six weeks ago, I've added lots of familiar faces and names to the list of people I follow and others have done the same with me, but there has also been an influx of people adding me who I don't know at all. Many of them appear to be people in social networking or technology and their streams, which I see if I look at the feed of everyone who is sharing with me, are filled with links to tech stories, many of which seem like subtle marketing efforts. One of my favorite things about Facebook is that it must be mutual to be friends. I shouldn't have to block every person who wants to follow me if I don't want them seeing my feed.


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5 comments
Andre Bourque
Andre Bourque

The real key to the equation is this: Google+ + Search = Social Search.  If that catches on, it opens up a whole new competitive advantage for Google over other social circles. 

Sams Silly Stuff
Sams Silly Stuff

Good thoughts, these echo my concerns as well... I was curious as to the actual statistics of popularity (If that can be measured) of 15 to 20 or so actual friends that have added google+ only 5 or so post things sporadically, and because of the whole sort-by-popularity-thing my stream is filled with posts from public personalities I'm subscribed to... seriously annoying that I have to click on my 'friends' stream to really see what I want to see more of

Guest
Guest

What does it matter if people are following you? The main feature of Google+ is that whenever you post things, you get the choice to make them public or only to certain circles. So as long as you don't make everything public all the randoms following won't be able to see what you put on your feed. 

Kredit
Kredit

Yes, I think Google + comb clearly too late. And in the end, it is also almost the same as Facebook. Because you would have come with something new around the corner have. What does not exist yet. But may indeed be that Google can come up with something else new for Google +. Whether it is a successful one can not say yet. But how good is challenging: the first bird catches the worm.

Jeff
Jeff

The problem is the lack of an option to the contrary. Every other social network provides some sort of option for that kind of privacy. Google should as well.

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