When it was first launched in June 28th 2011 most people were sure that Google+ was going to be a serious and immediate threat to Facebook. Especially because it grew so rapidly. The service reached 10 million users within its' first 2 short weeks of what was initially a limited trial phase. By December 2012 it had 500 million registered users out of which 235 million are active every month.
One and a half years later Facebook continues to thrive and there has been no major shift towards Google+. And yet Google plus is far from being dead. In fact it continues to grow and usage is constantly on the increase. So, what is the true picture? Is this new social networking platform a threat to Facebook or is it not?
Google+ is different
One very important fact to appreciate so as to understand the whole situation is that Google+ is different. For instance it can be accessed from multiple sources. Google+ can be reached from several different sites covering Google online properties. The service also had an emphasis on organizing friendship information. It also has numerous features that are not available on Facebook.
Not so popular when compared to Facebook
Still there is no denying the fact that this new social networking system launched by giant search engine Google+ is not as popular and widely used as Facebook is. It obviously has a long way to go. People are accustomed to Facebook and still do not see any good reason for switching to the new kid on the block. But that does not mean that this situation is cast in stone and will never change. Even as you read this Google continues to use its' very popular search engine and other products in its' stable to continue building up on the number of users of Google plus.
How Google Plus has helped Facebook users
Others are of the view that Google's decision to launch the social platform has benefited rival Facebook users more than anything else because it has forced innovation on them and kept them very much on their toes. The truth is that before Google plus burst onto the scene Facebook had no viable competitor anywhere close in the horizon and the social networking site mostly took its' massive number of users for granted. All that changed with the arrival of the new Google social networking service.
What does Mark Zuckerberg think?
Mark Zuckerberg co-founder of Facebook was recently asked whether Google+ was a threat to his wildly popular Facebook. Zuckerberg in his reply said that millions of people have shared a lot of their lives on the social media site. He also pointed out that Facebook had far better tools for sharing and having a great time socially than the new service. In other words the co-founder of Facebook does not view Google's social media platform as a serious threat. At least not yet.
The future could be scary for Facebook
However a deeper look into Google+ and some of its' amazing features reveals some interesting strengths in the Google social networking platform and points to the new kid on the block being a major threat to Facebook going forward.
For instance the "circles" feature in Google+ makes it possible to organize friends, business associates and family members into different groups. This allows the user to send specific messages to a specific group or groups. This is still not possible on Facebook. It is also so easy to video conference within your various circles.
There is also the hangouts feature which is a virtual room where video chat can be launched with people in your circle. This enables you to see where your friends are and what they are doing as they speak to you.
Huddles is yet another great feature in Google+. It is ideal for collaborative work between individuals who are in different locations far apart. The group chat uses only text but can be extremely useful, especially when combined with other features within the social networking medium.
Sparks within Google plus has many similarities to RSS feeds and is ideal in helping you stay updated on your interests so easily.
More recently these features have been updated so that they can be used on Smart phones.
The bottom line is that there are millions of people who already rely heavily on Google products like Gmail, Google docs, and so on. The integration of Google+ into everything else provides some amazing new opportunities that cannot be ignored. Ultimately the combination of all these factors will make Google plus a major social networking platform that is a real threat to Facebook. It is really only a matter of time.
Google plus will not go away and clearly this is a long term project for Google. And this is why it will be interesting to see how this battle front develops in the months and years to come.
Jason Smith is an online manager for Right Divorce Lawyers. Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.