Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Google+ might just take over the world!

  Google has had a spotty track record in the past with creating widely accepted applications. Google search, big hit. Google Calendar, big hit for those who use it. Blogger, big hit for those who blog. Gmail, big hit. Google Documents, super awesome, useful and free, but not so big hit. Google Reader, big hit is certain groups. Google news, big hit. Google Chrome, not much market share, but big hit with those who use it. Want to see just how much Google REALLY has, click here.
  There is a pattern here, if you USE the applications, you'll like them. But not many people use them overall. They are useful, if often stark. Function over fashion has always been Google's way. Their tools are powerful, flexible, but overlooked for the flashier, expensive, advertised applications. If fact, most people don't even know that most Google applications exist.
   One brilliant thing Google has done is run with their "cloud" idea. Computing in the cloud is in a nutshell a new and different way of looking at the web and computer applications. The idea is that computers, phones, tablets, whatever are really just portals to access the cloud. What you DO on them doesn't really exist on the device itself, but out in the "cloud" (internet). What that means is you start something on your computer, get up and pick up where you left off on your phone, continue working on it on your tablet on the bus, then switch to your work computer without missing a beat. Then on lunch you stop by your friends house and jump on his computer and all your stuff is right there for you. Just like it was on your computer, phone, tablet, and work computer. The only thing you need is a device and a internet connection. Since your stuff exist in the cloud not on the device, no matter where you are or what device your using all your stuff is there, and it's all the same on every device. And if you drop your phone in the toilet, or your computer gets stolen, lost or damaged you lose nothing. That's computing in the cloud.
   And that's been Google's whole business model pretty much. But so far the idea has been adopted by only a small part of the market. Android has helped move their market share up some, and more people are starting to take advantage of Google services, mostly because of integration with android. Or because of increased gmail useage due to Android. Gmail is a good launching point for discovering other Google services. And that brings me to my topic of the day. Why Google+ might just take over the world!
   One advantage of G+ (Google+) for a die hard Google fan like myself is the integration with many of the things I already use. It sync's up with my Android much better then Facebook, and if you download the G+ android app it also auto uploads any picture or video you take instantly in the background (if you set it up to do so). It doesn't share them, just uploads them to a private folder inside G+. So later if I want to share a picture I've taken all I have to do is go to the instant upload folder in G+ and share it. I don't have to upload it because it's already there, plus if I lose my phone or something happens all my pictures and videos are backed up. Until it's shared the only person who can see them are me, and I choose what to share on a picture to picture basis. I'm sure you can make is so it shares everything... but I can see how that could get awkward in certain situations.
   I also like the ideas of circles. Sure, you can do the same thing with Facebook and list, but G+ makes the idea a base for the whole platform, instead of a clunky addon idea or afterthought. You can't even share or start seeing post till you've set up circles. Of course some people will share everything with everyone all the time, like they do on Facebook. But there are things I would like my friends to know that maybe I don't want the boss to see. Or things I want friends to see, but the family may be better off not seeing. G+ makes it a part of everything you post to choose who see's what. It's a good idea. Plus you can add people to any number of your circles, so those family members who also might fit in the friends circle can see what your friends see, but mom can't. But if you want to share something with just the family, they can see that too, but the friends who aren't family can't. Very powerful.
   But if people ever really start using G+, and that will be the big test for Google with this, it's got the potential to become the center of most peoples online experience, in a way Facebook could never match. Why? Not because of G+ itself, but because of Google's HUGE library of applications that do just about everything you can think of. If G+ takes off, they will start doing what they do best, and integrate everything together. It would take a healthy market share to really get the ball rolling, but I could see a day where your whole internet experience could be through G+. You could do all you could ever want to do, and never really leave it. And the whole experience would be a unified, seamless flow.
   I don't know really if that would be a good thing, or a bad thing. But either way we might be finding out soon enough. Now we'll just see what the people have to say about it, and they will vote with their usage or non-usage. But it took 7 years to get grandma on Facebook, how long will it take to get her to switch???? And the question is, why should she and many other people bother? And who wants to go through years of trying to show them how to use something new again!! LOL.... I'm interested to see how Google fares up against the the seemingly impossible to unseat Facebook..... but if it manages to win the king-of-the-socialnetwork-hill contest, then it might just take over the world.....