I’ve been on g+ for almost a week now and that has given me enough time to get used to the interface, appeal and application of the next big player in the social media industry.
So far there have been many reviews across the internet covering one, two or all three of these aspects. However, I’ve noticed that none of these reviews come from the perspective of an average facebook user. All the reviewers so far are understandably the big and influential players in today’s social media i.e. they all enjoy a mass following on other social networks by similar social media enthusiasts.
I met quite a few of my friends over the last week and in pretty much every conversation I’ve brought up Google+. Interestingly enough, only about 10% of them knew about g+ to begin with. When I asked the ones that didn’t know as to why that was so, they said it was simply “because they didn’t hear about it over facebook!”
This shows that the bulk of the internet community is not made up of people that are on google+ today with 5k+ followers, rather it’s composed of people that:
- have about 300-500 facebook friends
- do not add unknowns to their friends list
- do not live on the internet
- like to use their facebook account for only staying in touch and sharing media within their small group of friends
- do not like to blog or share pictures publicly
- do not display info on their profile publicly
- if they follow some celebrity on twitter or facebook, it is only because it is cool and everyone else did it
- are very reluctant to switch from facebook because it satisfies their basic social networking needs
- are very reluctant to even create a second facebook profile if the need arises (because building a new social profile, finding and adding friends is pretty much the equivalent of moving from one city to another IRL)
- have friends that think along the same lines as above
Most of the above is true of me and my facebook friends. +Robert Scoble highlighted this problem in his blogs on why “Your Father, Wife and Mom won’t join Google+” but he couldn’t present a solution for it either because he doesn’t use social networks as an average facebook user.
So why am I here on google+ actively using it for the last few days and what do I think of it? In writing this article, I would like to present the much needed perspective of an average facebook user (AFU) on google+. This will hopefully make it easier for the readers to convince their average facebook friends to join google+.
To begin, I think it is important to realize that any social network needs to be analyzed in terms of all three aspects suggested above: interface, appeal, and application.
When you’ll ask your AFU to join google+, immediately they’ll respond with a “Why?”. It is a very valid question. What does Google+ have that’ll appeal to the AFU and ultimately convince them to join?
- The first thing that caught my attention is the brand name. If there is one thing 750 million facebook users use other than facebook, it’s Google! Google was a part of the AFU’s e-life even before facebook came into existence. So if your AFU friends say why?, tell them because it’s Google!
- G+ takes the best features of facebook and twitter, combines them, and then adds more features on top. So the AFUs can have their private social profiles just like on facebook where they can share pictures, videos, plans with their real life friends. At the same time they can see what their favorite celebrities are up to without their private life ever being exposed to them… just like twitter. And to add the cherry on top, they even get to do free 10 way video calls from within the browser (which in my opinion work much better than Skype group conferences).
- Finally the chance to have everything in ONE place. The AFU hates having to manage too many accounts or too many smartphone apps. G+ offers the AFU the ability to control their e-life all from one black toolbar… mail, social profile, calendar, contacts, sharing, documents, photos, search, maps, youtube, translate, etc.
- If the AFU has an Android, then they get the best social app (in my opinion). Everything that you need on the go is in that app. Besides the standard G+ features, it has Huddle which is better than texting, and it has Instant Upload which makes sharing pictures/videos as easy as taking them!
- The data on google+ will belong to the AFU. With Google Takeout, the AFU can download all of their data whenever they want.
- The AFUs love pictures and like sharing them with their friends. But the AFUs are not happy with the tiny resolution offered to them on facebook that compresses their party/vacation pictures and make them look awful. On google+ the AFU gets unlimited storage on PicasaWeb and can upload and see pictures in a much higher resolution! You can also edit pictures within your album and give them fancy effects to make them look great.
AFUs like simple, clean and gorgeous UIs. AFUs hate adverts. AFUs like fast websites. That is exactly what the Google+ interface gives them. When I logged in to Google+ the first time, I was stunned by the beauty of the UI.
- Everything is crisp and well laid out.
- The stream updates in real time.
- You can drag and drop pictures from your desktop into the share box to publish them.
- Profile and privacy editing can be done right from the profile page (which as the AFU knows is not the case with facebook.)
- The profile does not look like it contains too much information and is hence easily readable.
- The AFU can look through someone’s profile pictures without having to open the album.
- Adding/editing/deleting your friends or circles is incredibly simple compared to facebook.
- The Photos page is simply gorgeous with much better and larger preview thumbnails.
- Managing your circles is not only easy and smooth, but also fun!
- The text can be made bold or italic.
- There are no adverts!
The AFU’s needs from the internet are:
- Stay in touch with friends
- Communicate and share online differently with different friends depending on the real-life relationships
- Stay up to date with interests like movies
- Know what the favorite celebrities are up to
- Do all of the above from a mobile phone using one app only
- Share ideas, links, pictures, videos
- Checking in from a location or finding out what nearby friends are up to
Google+ offers all that and raises the bar by including two more killer features to redefine the application of a social network for an AFU: Hangouts and Huddles – communicating with a bunch of friends at the same time using the same snappy and crisp interface!
So, fellow +ers feel free to share and highlight these aspects of Google+ for your AFU friends. These are the things they need to hear to join this network.