Does Google+ make Facebook the new MySpace?

Does Google+ make Facebook the new MySpace?

Summary: Google+ has the potential to topple the Facebook behemoth but it needs to be much better than Facebook to do so.

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It might. The answer lies with Google. It won't take a lot of convincing for geeks to switch from Facebook to Google+ but for Ma and Pa Kettle, well, that's a different story. Huey, Dewey and Louie Kettle will use both for a while but will end up gravitating to Google+, which might well turn Facebook into the next MySpace. Why? Because Google+ is cooler. Much cooler. Or, at least it could be.

The real question is, "Do we need another social networking outlet." The answer is, "No, we absolutely do not." We need a social networking outlet that's actually social in nature. I know that's a crazy idea but apparently what I think of as social is not what the general public thinks of as social. I see social networking as interacting, talking, discussing and not simply posting pictures and comments for others to comment on. People have a need to be social--really social.

Google+ is on the right track with some of their features.

By now you've read about Circles and Hangouts and how you can group people you "friend" into Friends, Acquaintances and Family--so I won't bother with rehashing that for you.

But, what makes Google+ so much more compelling than Facebook, if it isn't those features?

It's Google.

Like Apple, Google has that special something that you can't quite put your finger on that makes it irresistible. The French call it, "Je ne sais quois," which translates to, "I don't know what." It's what makes certain products and services so good that we must have them and use them, though we're not sure why.

I've tried hating Apple. I've made fun of the one-button mouse for years. I've tried to hate Google too. But, there's nothing better than GMail. Google's search engine is the best. It's that same thing that makes us hate Microsoft Windows but we still use it. It's that elusive thing that would make me a billionaire if I could crack the code.

We used to love MySpace. Nothing was cooler than MySpace. Now we make fun of it. We scoff at anyone who still mentions it with a positive tone.

Facebook will have the same fate as MySpace, if Google plays the game correctly. Facebook will become an albatross and we'll make fun of it. We'll laugh at ourselves for ever having used it. Instead of admitting our early adoption of it, we'll brag about being one of the early bailouts from its now sunken hull. And, Google+ will cast its long shadow upon what was once Facebook's grand illusion.

But, what will it take to convince a half billion Facebook users to switch to Google+?

I have some ideas.

  • Make it really easy to use - make it easier than it is now. It's kind of like switching from Windows to Linux. People won't do it, if they don't understand it.
  • Make it easy to switch - copy their pictures, friends, games and all other Facebook info to Google+.
  • Give people a compelling reason to switch - Develop features that Facebook doesn't have. I have some examples below.
  • Keep security and privacy at the top of the list - Facebook has had too many security flaws. Keep Google+ safe and sane.
  • Change the name from Google+ to Plus - The name Google+ doesn't flow well. Plus is better. Better yet, have a contest to rename it, reward the winner handsomely. I don't think you should use FaceGoo. That won't sell.
  • Grant exclusive live chatback interviews to your favorite ZDNet writer (It had better be me) to discuss Google+ and its new features.

I really think you, Google, should pay me for these ideas but I won't hold my breath waiting for the check (but I do have a number in mind), so here they are as I've thought of them. And, don't tell me you've already thought of all of them because I know you haven't.

  1. Channels - Almost a ustream setup where Plussers can go to get live entertainment. Are you guys buying Hulu? Might be a good use of that. Make my expensive cable TV obsolete, please.
  2. Venues - Where Plussers can go for Coffee House entertainment from amateurs. Comedy, poetry and indie music.
  3. Film Fests - A place where independent filmmakers can pitch their movies, show their movies and discuss movies.
  4. Forums - Rooms where discussions can take place. Plussers can use these rooms as virtual conference rooms for all kinds of purposes.
  5. Town Halls - A place where Plussers can have live talkbacks with their local, state and federal politicians.
  6. Celebrity Chat - Authors, TV personalities and Film stars can sit down and talk with their fans. A talk show without a host.
  7. Classrooms - Allow entire classrooms to be conducted online. Secondary, college and adult education all brought to you by Google+.
  8. Trade Shows - Who wouldn't love to go to a virtual trade show? Let me have the ability to connect to a trade show and visit booths virtually.

Make social networking a truly social experience. Facebook is not social. It's an online forum that needs a good squashing. It should pass into annals of Internet history as a fad that didn't make the cut. It would have really worked better about a decade ago. Today, not so much. Yes, Facebook is popular but it falls short of what we really need--the need to be social.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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27 comments
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  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    These are all very neat ideas but implementing them contravenes your very first suggestion of making it easy to use. These are features that can be added as the product matures but in the meantime,they just have to stick with your first suggestion. So if you really want that check, you can let them know how to do just that.
    drfrenzo
    • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

      @drfrenzo
      Thanks for this information! I love this website.

      <a href="http://www.villedasogno.net/Lago_di_Garda-9.html">ville lago di garda</a>
      jackfolla
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    Definitely some good ideas here. As do you, I believe that the assets Google has at its disposal pose a lot of promise for Google+ and a lot of headaches for Mr. Zuckerberg. Google has a great opportunity to become a comprehensive internet experience, doing away with yet another reason users might have had to do something off of their site. Writing for the EE Tech News yesterday, I brought up a few similar points and alluded to the same potential MySpace-like fate of Facebook. http://www.experts-exchange.com/blogs/EE-Tech-News/B_5343-Google-Google-s-Next-Flop-or-Next-On-Top.html
    MattSt
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    @drfrenzo, I believe Google could keep doing in the way other g-apps are: they're available for anyone.. who searches / wants it.
    In google.com, we have in the upper left side the links for books, calendar and all that stuff. It could be done also in plus. Easy and amazing, isn't it?
    tdcardoso
  • Too soon to tell

    By limiting the early adopters to those that are most likely to give fawning reviews, it is too soon to tell if it is even a viable platform. Google+ may be the next Google Wave.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

      @facebook@...

      If they make my improvements, I'll fawn.
      khess
    • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

      and imagine facebooks' reaction when they become unfavoured because of google+ (or something else): Knowing their lack of privacy concerns, they will probably sell all their data (and thus ours) to anyone who's willing to throw in a dime.
      belli_bettens@...
    • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

      @facebook@... And there's a lot of drooling over all things G in this article- no- favorable review.
      And to use "security and privacy" in the same sentence with "google" is almost laughable... It's roughly equivalent to using "Apple" in the same sentence with "basement-bargain price"!
      xplorer1959
  • So your answer is no.

    After reading your write up.

    Lots of Buzz going around on Google+ but I don't think it will ever really catch a wave.
    Bruizer
  • Judging from your 8 suggestions

    it sounds like you think Google should turn into...
    AOL! I'm sure Google will copy what they think
    will grab eyeballs for ads!
    wizard57m-cnet
  • Facebook is the new MySpace

    Good suggestions. Facebook is on the way down.
    root12
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    They need to give us complete control over our privacy. Yes and if they do so, Google will def. win. They should change the name too. For eg, people aren't gonna type googleplus.com or plus.google.com to get there, they should change the name of Google Plus to something that really sounds cool...
    shellcodes_coder
  • I hate facebook, but

    just because a bunch of you geeks giggle over google+ doesn't mean crap to the masses.

    I don't see any success at google except search and gmail.

    gmail's interface sucks as bad as facebook's because they're both written by geeks. If apple wrote iOS as badly as google or facebook, the iPhone would have disappeared its first year and apple would still depending on its revenue from iPod.
    sackbut
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    <I>"Like Apple, Google has that special something that you can?t quite put your finger on that makes it irresistible."</I>

    Uh, what? I find Google's lack of concern for anything privacy related <I>very</I> resistable. In fact, I find it pretty easy to resist using their services. I enjoy a Google free lifestyle. And I'll never go back.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Ken, you seemed to get carried away!!

    Google+ is not that great and it will be be able to sway millions to it, yes it will be a smaller player for few months or maybe a year and then will be cut off.

    Google never patented these ideas, neither do you, if they are good, will be in fb in next few months, building features is lot easier than building communities.

    my couple of cents.

    regards,
    deep@...
    • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

      @deep@...
      It's not just the ideas, Google also has the infrastructure and skills to make my...um,...their dreams come true.
      khess
      • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

        @khess the same way they did with orkut, buzz or wave. I think google + is nothing but "me too" share some data with me. As soon as the "artificially" created "scarecity" of invites are removed, it will die
        abhi.jamwal
  • Google ?

    Nice article Ken. I love your ideas. "But, what will it take to convince a half billion Facebook users to switch to Google+?
    I have some ideas.Make it really easy to use - make it easier than it is now. It?s kind of like switching from Windows to Linux. People won?t do it, if they don?t understand it.
    Make it easy to switch - copy their pictures, friends, games and all other Facebook info to Google+.
    Give people a compelling reason to switch - Develop features that Facebook doesn?t have. I have some examples below.
    Keep security and privacy at the top of the list - Facebook has had too many security flaws. Keep Google+ safe and sane.
    Change the name from Google+ to Plus - The name Google+ doesn?t flow well. Plus is better. Better yet, have a contest to rename it, reward the winner handsomely. I don?t think you should use FaceGoo. That won?t sell."

    I sent google executives bus. proposals right before gwave came out. I heard nothing. But your ideas, were in my proposals to google.

    The sad fact is you wont get a check and neither will I. google likes to take ideas and try to use them as their own. gbuzz copies twitter, android copies iPhone, google images copied Bing images. Google does not like to help the people that help them. Sad but true.

    If you want check out some of what google + "might" have (borrowed/stole with out compensation) from the bus. proposals I sent google 2+ years ago.

    http://www.7slocal.com
    7slocal
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    For someone talking up google+ so much I dont see any +1 button anywhere here ;)
    el_barrows@...
  • RE: Does Google make Facebook the new MySpace?

    LOL!<br><br>^^ that's what I did when I read this article.<br><br>Do you really think anybody has the ability to sway the opinion of 750 million Facebook users? Seriously, Ken...come back to reality.<br><br>For the record, I still have my Google Wave account...and, I occasionally check in on Myspace...not to mention numerous other "defunct" sites...but, you're talking almost a 5th of the world's population on Facebook...I don't think even Google can come up with a reason good enough for that many people to jump ship at Facebook and come to Google+...it's not going to happen.
    jcpt928