The launch of Google+ has certainly gone better than that of their last failed foray into social networking, Buzz. They have learned from the mistakes they made last time round and have shied away from forcing it on all Gmail users. The invitation only model they are currently using has created an aura of exclusivity around the product. This model was used by Spotify, the successful music subscription service that has recently launched in the US, after gaining over 1 million paying subscribers and 10 million users since it’s launch in Europe over the last few years. Rumour has it that Google+ gained over 20 million subscribers in it’s first 3 weeks of launch.
Openness is key
A common question I am being asked by my fellow Google plussers is ‘what do I think of Google’s latest attempt at world domination?’ Well I don’t think that is their aim for Google+, not if we are to believe their ‘don’t be evil’ company motto. The stated ambition of Google is to organise the world’s information and social networking fits right into that slot. Google are certain to announce API’s to Google+ in the coming months and we can be sure that they will demonstrate their ambition to not be evil by allowing transparent import and export of your social graph. They are almost certain to support other open standards such as OpenID and Web Finger. This will allow users to define a definitive web persona which could allow interoperability of social graph information between the popular social networks. If this happens then it will surely shame Facebook into doing the same and if so we will at last be able to:
- Post from any device and allow it to be federated to friends/circles/followers social network of choice.
- Own our own data e.g. posts, images and social graph.
I suspect that social networks that do not conform to these standards may have their days numbered.
I’m looking forward to being able to use the Google+ API’s. Lets play it forward 6 months and think about the ways it could be used. Just imagine if you could programmatically access a social circle via a mobile app. I can see the day when we have apps that let us send quick response messages, images or even video to circles. Mobile hangouts are going to be an awesome feature – when it comes! There will be many new innovations in this area, so watch this space.
When the ‘new car smell’ wears off Google+ lets hope it has gained enough traction to remain the social networking platform of choice and not just for the early adopters.