What's wrong with Google+

    This post was written a year after the launch of Google+, and has been in draft form since then for another two years. Periodically, I recalled him, shuddering: what if G + took off and the post will no longer be relevant? But time passed, Google+ still didn’t take off, and three years after the launch of its social network, life boils on Facebook, Twitter and Vkontakte. Life is in full swing on YouTube, where now without G + you can’t put a Like, nor leave a comment. And only in G + itself there is no life. And the conclusions of the post not only remain relevant, but are confirmed by practice. Therefore, I just spread the text written for two years as is.

    Of course, the concept of failure is relative. Google+ has a large number of users; brands consider it mandatory to add G + to their Facebook and Vkontakte representations. Nevertheless, Google+ is a failure.

    For the first time I ran some theses of this article on one of the employees of a Google-related PR agency, to which I received the answer: “When facebook started up, not everyone started using it right away.” However, it is at least incorrect to compare the aggressively pumped up capabilities of the mail and search giant, the project deeply integrated into its services, and facebook at the start. From his powerful starting position, he, nevertheless, not only does not tear Facebook’s indicators, but he’s not even considered a threat of any significance to him. Why did this happen and does Google+ have a chance in this life?

    Characteristic in this sense is the reaction of people to the Facebook innovation in June (recall, 2012 text)running its mail for all users: it would seem that only the opportunity appeared to send letters to the mailing address имя_аккаунта@facebook.com, and they will fall to the user in private messages - but in the first noticeable publication about this in American Forbes this attempt was called a “curve” , and users began to forward advice to each other how to return the old address to the profile address .

    Perhaps the fact is that mail was turned on forcibly, without notifying and not asking users for opinions about this? Yes, of course, that too. But not only.

    Another interesting, but not so high-profile example is Yandex, which, while still a search and mail service, made its blog service Ya.ru, which 6-7 years ago, could seriously be considered as an alternative to LiveJournal (at that time they did not know about Facebook and VKontakte). But he did not. And, although blogging services and social networks are different formats, this case is worth mentioning here, and further you will understand why.

    And, of course, you cannot go past Google’s own social experiments, which is not the first year already trying to find your place under the social sun. Does anyone else remember with pomp the launch of the “response to twitter” Google Buzz?

    And actually causing a great skepticism from the moment of its birth, the answer of Facebook Google+. The fact that the project “did not take off,” they say constantly. The most recent example (as of 2012)- a mocking study, according to which Google employees themselves are not particularly active in using their own social network - 66% of them did not post there for a month or more (a post about this did not jump on Habré long ago).

    I wonder how soon Google, famous for its ruthlessness in relation to "not taking off" projects, recognizes another failure and disconnects G + from the artificial life support device? - I asked two years ago. Since then, the promotion of G + has only become more aggressive.

    Of course, the obvious problem with G + is that, being an alternative to Facebook, it is actually its counterpart - without offering particularly strong advantages. But is that really the case?

    Work, communication, relationships, market

    Attempts to collect the entire Internet in one site are not new. Almost from the very foundation of the Internet, sites began to appear trying to collect all the services available at that time in themselves - so to speak, a single-window Internet service, or a single point of entry into the network. They were called that: portals - although now this term is completely blurred.

    Paradoxically, Google+ and the other projects mentioned above are kept on the ground, not allowing to take off, it is deep integration with the parent service. Yes, it allows you to pump traffic and maintain life in the project. But this comes into deep contradiction with one of the basic principles of human behavior: the desire to divide spaces. Someone separates work from personal life, someone sports from studies, someone tries not to mix the Internet and offline activity - one way or another, for each person there is a concept of what things in his life should exist separately from others. It seems that the creators of social networks have understood this for a long time - and all friends and subscribers can be divided into groups by restricting access to privacy settings - but is this enough?

    The behavior of users on the Internet suggests that in reality they need a deeper differentiation.

    I would single out four global spaces that people try to share in principle in life: work, communication, relationships and the market. Moreover, by communication I mean entertainment, including, because most of the entertainment on the Internet is somehow related to communication. Under relationships - everything related to the intimate sexual side of life. Under the market is financial affairs: earnings and expenses. Work, I think, is not necessary to decipher. In general, it looks something like this:

    Naturally, they are transferred to the Internet. In the case of Google+, we have an attempt to combine work and entertainment under one account. Google mail and documents - for business correspondence, as a task manager and account registrations, Google+ - for communicating with people, statuses and pictures with cats. As a result, in the window with a business letter from the client, I see a link to his G + account with seals and photos in shorts from the last vacation. Rather, I would see it if everything was as Google intended. But users vote with their feet: having started G + and setting an avatar, they do not go further than this, and upload photos in shorts in other social networks.

    Of course, this conditional separation is the same as in real life. No one, unless he is a spy or terrorist, will be specially encrypted so that a colleague from work accidentally does not meet a friend at the university. Just will not meet with them at the same time. But to find out who is who will not be difficult. And on the Internet the same way - if you really want to, then you can always google the name you need and find out what comments he leaves under the photos of naked women on Vkontakte. This whole story with the division of spaces rests on the fragile principle of don't ask - don't tell, the strength of which is ensured for the most part by the mutual indifference of people to the majority of those around them. But the integration of social networks and workspace (Gmail and G +) destroys this border. What causes the subconscious for the most part (because I didn’t see intelligible reflections on the topic “So why didn’t Google+ take off”) a passive protest. People just don't want to.

    Developing this theory, I can also assume that an attempt to make, for example, a dating service based on a social network (communication + relationships) or vice versa, will not take off either. Using the functionality of social networks for dating - ok, combining - for nothing. Or, for example, I can predict the inglorious end of the social network that unites buyers (market + communication), if such a thing arises. Relatively speaking, within the framework of this concept, the project should choose one of the sectors of the square and make sure that it does not get too far beyond its borders:

    Understand me correctly: integration, compatibility of projects is good. But mixing should be avoided. Even if you think that one project can incorporate all aspects of human life - the person himself will never agree with this.

    Why is Google holding onto Google+ so hard?

    Perhaps this is pride. Not enough time has passed (SUFFICIENTLY much time has passed) to acknowledge the failure of this ambitious project.

    Or maybe the calculation - after all, G + works for the main business of Google - the sale of targeted advertising, allowing you to find out even more information about your user. But how much use is it when they do not use it?

    If I were a sultan ...

    In my opinion, Google+ has a chance. And if Google asked me what to do, I would advise two things:

    1. untie the Google+ account from the Google account, allowing users to create new accounts from scratch, linking to any mail or even accounts on other social networks. If we go further, we could abandon the concept of a single Google account as such, dividing them into two parts - a Gmail account (for mail and documents - that is, for the “Work” space) and G + for social networks and Youtube (communication). A user can combine them if he has nothing against liking a video on Youtube under the same account from which he sends out a resume about finding a job in Gmail. Or he can choose one thing or use them in parallel, without mixing or shaking. A Google should keep separation as deep as possible.

    2. close the registration and return invites .Here was a long paragraph that I deleted - if anyone needs it, I can throw it off privately. In short: artificially created exclusivity could take a ride - but that was at the start. Now, in my opinion, it's too late for this.

    Reflecting on the Google+ case, I came to the conclusion that it is not in vain that Google appears in many totalitarian anti-utopias about the future. Although with good intentions, but Google’s desire to connect the user's life to the “one-stop-shop service” is obvious. And the failure of one of their most ambitious projects on this path - the news is exceptionally good, because it proves that it will not be so easy to do so. Human nature is still stronger than the framework that we ourselves are trying to create.

    PS Other posts from the cycle:

    PPS To the frequently asked questions “How do you know that Google is dissatisfied with the success of G +”, Sergey Brin personally answered: “ Brin admitted that his work on Google+ was a mistake

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