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Google+ doesn’t have a fancy origin story like other social media tools

July 14, 2011

Edit: If you want to sign up for Google+ as a business, do so here. Deadline to sign up is Friday, July 15th. 

Google+ isn’t like Facebook, Twitter or the other tactics we use in social media to share ideas and content. It isn’t like YouTube, Digg or StumbledUpon either.

It will never have a rags to riches origin story.

Most of the things we use, from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Digg started  small and then took off. Facebook started in a dorm room, Twitter as a side project, Delicious as an idea to organize the web. ICQ, Hotmail, MySpace, Friendster, they all had cool origin stories (and even cooler destruction stories).

Google+ won’t have an origin story. It’s Google.

The platform is theirs

Google+ doesn’t need app developers to create content for the platform because Google has a platform. The black bar at the top of my Google world already has Matt+ on it. It already synchs with Gmail, and YouTube and Picasa. It will most-likely synch with search, docs and even analytics.

Because of the Google platform, the + is on more websites than “share with Twitter“. Soon we’ll read about the amount of content already shared on Google+.

The problem with Apps. 

Apps on Facebook didn’t make the experience better for consumers, unless one thinks that social gaming is good for the world (hint, it isn’t). But Apps did make Facebook better for brands. And since brands went there, and told people to go there, one can surmise that the strategy makes Facebook even more sticky.

But it makes Facebook annoying.

I’m not sure if you agree, but there is a lot of noise on Facebook. There are millions of Facebook pages all posting at what they think are optimal times, with optimal content from their content calendars. It’s a race for fans, likes, and engagement.

Then, there’s Twitter. Scheduling tools on Twitter add to the noise.


Will there be ‘apps’ on Google+? 

I think the answer is no. My theory is that Facebook and Twitter needed apps to grow as a platform. They actively went out and courted app developers to make the things on those platforms.

Google+ is already a massive platform. Apps are bells and whistles, whereas Google+ can simply grow and live on “organized content”. This will be good for the consumer, good for Google, but bad for brands. (Caveat: I think there might be reading apps for Google+, but I think most of them will come from Google. That said, Google is famously open, so perhaps apps will come).

Every brand that engages in social media wants to get in your stream. They want what is called “earned media”, meaning a consumer engages with brand content whilst talking to their friend Sally.

That appeared to be the motivation behind the horrible redesign of Digg, it was a rather blatant attempt at getting paid content in the Digg stream.

Promoted Tweets are another attempt to get in the stream.

Only Facebook offers consumer a chance to opt in to get messages in their stream, but many of those opt ins come in the form of an incentive. Like us for a chance to win isn’t the same thing as opt in to get messages (even though the result is the same).

Like all social/sharing networks, Google+ runs the risk of getting noisy. Apps are noise creators.

My true hope is that Google+ never gets a scheduler. Schedulers, often created by third party app developers, add value to brands, but not to people.

It remains to be seen where Google+ will go. Right now, the sky is the limit.

I’m hoping they set the bar lower.

Have you tried Google+? Do you have any thoughts on what it should be?

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