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Why Google+ is great news even if you don’t use it

Google+Google’s new social network, Google+, is gaining users at a frenetic pace. Presumably people are signing up for it faster than any new social network in history.

There will be many who bemoan that there’s now yet another social network out there to keep track of. Weren’t there enough already? Don’t Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all those other sites cover our social networking needs? “I don’t want another social network!”

But here’s the cool thing. The fact that Google+ has gotten some serious wind in its sails (unlike the dead-in-the-water duck that is Google Buzz) will bring something sorely needed to the social space: Competition.

Competition is the cure for complacency

Because let’s face it, the enormous size and mainstream domination of Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter, was risking complacency in these companies. If not now, then soon.

*Burp* (Illustrating complacency is really hard.)

If you have a ton of users who want to stay connected with each other but don’t really have any other place to go, it becomes all too easy to keep them around without actually providing the best product you possibly could.

But now Google+ will light a fire under the collective behinds of Facebook, Twitter at al. These companies are going to get more creative and focused on keeping their users happy. Because now there’s another big player out there that wants what they have. That option alone is a huge motivator.

Then there’s another thing to consider, and that’s the cross pollination of ideas.

Stealing and borrowing as a good thing

Think what you will of it, but Facebook will steal/mimic/borrow ideas from Google+, Google+ will do the same from Facebook and Twitter, Twitter will find inspiration in relevant parts of Google+, and so on. This is actually a good thing, and is how progress works. Remember that saying, “we stand on the shoulders of giants.” We learn and grow and build on what others have done before us, with very few exceptions.

That alone is worth another big social network to keep track of, don’t you think? Even if you don’t participate.

Image credit: Panda by Cliff1066 on Flickr.



3 comments
Earthworms
Earthworms

I am a member of Google+ as I was invited by a friend and am finding it quite user friendly to use, more so than facebook. Twitter, well its ok but when you have a large following its hard to keep track of everyones tweets. I think the competion Google bring to the table will be healthy as Facebook seems to have to much power at the moment which can often lead to a dictatorship.

Tommy
Tommy

Well written! Competition is always good, and in this case needed. Just look at the Facebook app for Android. Totally terrible, but with millions of users only because it provides something that people want, and can't get any other way. I'm hoping that Google+ will make Facebook motivated to work harder, and I'm pretty sure that Google+ team is wokring real hard already. I'm afraid that there will be a lot of protection of positions tho, which mean more lawsuits and less new features. Just like the smart phone/tablet market...

Pingdom
Pingdom

@Tommy: The competition really is bound to have a positive effect from the perspective of us as users. Facebook and Twitter might be less thrilled about it (although we're sure many at these companies like this kind of challenge, having strong competition can be a lot of fun, too, and be inspiring). There actually is an existing parallel with another Google product, the Google Chrome web browser, which all of a sudden came along and put a much stronger emphasis on performance and speed. It's had a profound effect on the web browser market as a whole, pushing both Microsoft and Mozilla to up their game not just with features, but with performance (especially JavaScript performance). Ouch regarding the observation about protecting positions, lawsuit/patents in the smartphone market. That is such a mess (and don't get us started on software patents). Hopefully the situation won't, and perhaps can't, become quite as bad with social networks.