‘Don’t be square, Embrace circles’ that’s what search giant is tweeting these days…
Neha Saraiya | Delhi | June 30, 2011
After a rather disappointing performance of Buzz and wave, Google is laying its hands off again on the Social networking side. But this time with a Plus (+). Yes, as you may have heard or even have got the invitation for (If you stand lucky enough!), Google latest play at the social front is of +. The project that has been the search giant’s baby for almost a year of experimentation, is currently through ‘invite only’ and is a muse for a select group of journalists and analysts only.
And obviously, without a question, Google + biggest competitor, is the mighty facebook that is already leap-fogging to its target of reaching out to 1 billion active users by the end of this year. Thus it’s very early to say that whether the third major attempt by Google will be able to give much needed jolt to the Zuckerberg empire. But how does or if not at all, Google + scores over facebook in terms of features and application will be the real war-ground, eventually turning out into a fierce battle for brands.
“This is another attempt by Google to garner a foothold in the social networking space. The problem is that this ship has already sailed with facebook dominating it wholeheartedly. The best chance at least in the Indian context that Google had was Orkut, but their lack of innovation let that die a slow death,” avers Rajiv Dingra, CEO & Founder, Watconsult.
Considering the fact, that the Social Networking space is unforgiving, Google has tried its best to deck up its latest offing with innovative features. The Google + users form groups named as ‘circles’, delivering amore focussed approach to its users in terms of photo, videos and status sharing with each other. The users need not be accepting friend requests to view status updates of their foes, but can prevent their profile viewing. Besides ‘circles’, Google + names some of its cool sorts like ‘huddle’, ‘sparks’, and ‘hangouts’. ‘Huddle’ is a textual chat room between circles, ‘Hangout’ is again a chat room wherein the user can create, or join one created by a friend through video chat. ‘Sparks’ is an instant photo sharing feature that allows auto-generated content feeds about your chosen topics (This indeed looks the most promising feature of the lot!).
But naysayers confirm that all these ‘chic’ phrasing of Google +attributes are not really earth-shattering in their way, “All these features can be compared to existing ones on facebook for e.g. ‘circle’ is a friend categorizing feature or ‘how do you know this person’ feature while ‘huddle’ is nothing but the friend chat already available on facebook. The new or so called different feature is the video chat called hangout. Photo sharing again is common. I believe facebook will be tracking this project closer than anyone else as it’s known to learn quicklyfrom competition. It did so by adding real-time feed and @tagging from twitter even before it took off in a big way on twitter,” explains Rajiv.
Praval Singh, Co-founder and Head of Strategic solutions, Media Redefined, opines, “Through Google+, the company is trying to integrate the social behavior at the core of internet experience. That’s as good as replicating the offline phenomena of sharing and discussing, into online space. I believe it’ll take time before people to adopt and make it their favorite social network. Also, you never know what is facebook coming up with, next! Google, as it says has a plan to launch Google + in a phased manner, unlike Wave and Buzz which were a ‘tack on’. Let’s not forget that facebook has not just got the users to it, but also a host of big brands. Things will change, always!”
Sanjay Mehta, Co-founder, Social wavelength says, “Google has already the advantage of a strong connection with people through its mail and search engine. Thus it has got the reach and network. Also consdering the fact that in digital space lot of things are similar, Google +kinds of understands your personal needs thus it might make search better, but it will take over facebook, I have doubts about it.”
Another interesting plot by the search giant is that the company has launched, Google + in beta version making the probability of any kind of infringement or copyright issue at it’s minimal. But as of now, looking back, Google can possibly earn sizeable by focusing on the business apps side with Google apps which is where it has little or no significant competition. As at last, Google core competence is search and this new endeavour might also push in the same direction leading to more ads.
really welcome to google +