Make no mistake: Google+ is growing more rapidly than Facebook and Twitter combined. But should you join the millions upon millions of users in their circles? Guy Kawasaki is a fan, and his new book, What the Plus!, may help shed some light. Here, Kawasaki explains some of the reasons why he loves Google's new social network.
If Google+ was two guys in a garage with seed funding I would adopt a wait-and-see attitude. But this is hardly the case, and although Google, like every large company, has failed with new projects like Google Buzz, this doesn’t mean that Google can only do search right. If you want an analogy, Google Buzz is to Google+ what Lisa is to Macintosh: a failed experience that led to bigger and better things.
As my mother used to say, “Some things need to be believed to be seen,“ so here are four reasons to believe in Google+.
Google is dead-serious about this business. Insiders tell me that Google+ is one of the seven primary business centers of Google. It’s not an experiment or project buried within another business unit. It’s a crucial direction for the company that Google is integrating into many of its existing services, and it would be astoundingly embarrassing for Google+ to fail.
Google has infinite money and talent. Infinite money and talent doesn’t mean an organization is infallible—as Webvan, Lehman Brothers, and Enron have proven—but infinite money and talent doesn’t guarantee that you’ll fail either. Google has undertaken a frontal assault against two big companies on their home turf, so money and talent are necessary in this battle.
Google owns the river. In ancient lore, one of the punishments given to Hercules was to clean the huge Augean stables in a day. Hercules accomplished this seemingly impossible task by diverting the Alpheus and Peneus rivers. Google owns the biggest data river, and it can divert traffic to increase the membership of Google+ any time it wants. For example, all it had to do is put an arrow on its search page telling people to join Google+, and millions of people signed up.
Google owns the playing field. Google can do more than tilt the playing field because it owns the playing field. For example, Google can further integrate Google+ into search results, the Android operating system for phones and tablets and the Chrome browser. Here is an example: On January 10, 2012, Google announced “social search” integration. Among other features, when someone searches for a word, such as music, they will see a list of people on Google+ who frequently discuss music. This will encourage people to join Google+ and shares posts about their passions in order to gain visibility.
Choice is good
Cutting to the chase: Should you join Google+? I think so, but here’s a way to decide.
Twitter = perspectives. Twitter is great for getting immediate perspectives on news and events. In other words, if you want to learn that there was an earthquake in Chile before CNN, and you like getting updates from people at ground zero, then Twitter is for you. In short, Twitter is for real-time perspectives.
Facebook = people. Facebook is the way to learn what’s going on in the lives of people that you already know (friends, relatives and colleagues). It’s great for learning that their cats rolled over, they went to a great party or they had sex, children or grandchildren. In short, Facebook is for people.
Google Plus = passions. Google Plus enables you to pursue your passions with people who you don’t know. Your 50 close friends and family on Facebook may not share your passion for photography, but on Google+ you can have a blast with photographers that you didn’t know. In short, Google+ is for passions.
This post is an excerpt from Guy Kawasaki's new book, What the Plus!