The highly anticipated next chapter in “The Social Iteration” by Google (+) has finally emerged. Let’s avoid wasting time talking about beta invites or criticizing its current functionality. Take a step back from the hype for a moment and think about what this ambitious play really means. Could this shiny Facebook alternative deliver just the “second chance at social” we need?
“…You know what would be cool? A billion users…”
As a senior in high school back in 2005, I can remember getting my first college acceptance letter. Even more exciting was the .edu email address that came along with it as this granted me access to TheFacebook. With limited users and its original features, acquiring as many friends as possible was the general objective. It became standard to have several hundred “friends” in your university “network” before even stepping on campus as a freshman. Naturally, my account has always been filled with random people who I’ve never met and putting forth the effort to clean it up felt pointless.
Having witnessed the entire evolution first-hand, it is no surprise that Facebook has lost some of its stickiness with most earlier-adopters. Personally, I view it now as maintenance to avoid social awkwardness and could certainly make do without it. Despite its exponential global growth, there are still plenty of dilemmas that Zuck & Co. have yet to crack. With Google+ seeking to solve some of these issues, most notably with Circles, the timing of this launch might be perfect to swoop in and capture market share.
Being able to craft private Circles and clearly push out your content accordingly is essentially Facebook Groups done right. The drag-and-drop process seems extremely intuitive and effective. More importantly, it is an opportunity to rebuild your social graph(s) with the proper structure, allowing you to tailor your engagement. These refined graphs become much more like real-life relationships. When fused with all of Google’s other digital assets, this makes for an amazing value proposition.
Not only is Google+ another chance for the company’s ultimate goal of social search, but it is an opportunity for users to experience social without previous limitations.
What do YOU think? Does social need this second chance?