Why google+ might just work, even though it’s getting a late start..

Normally I focus on the intersection of banking and technology, and while there is no question in my mind that social media is and will impact the banking industry — this article is more of an observation of the Google+ platform and why the timing and features might just place it in the right place at the right time.

Conventional wisdom says that the early bird catches the worm, that something about a rolling rock not gathering moss, and many other colourful examples of why you should get an early start on new ventures. Economists talk about capturing revenue through innovation and holding a temporary but effective monopoly. When it comes to social media, google+ is a follower and not an especially fast follower – so why should it matter? Here’s why:

  • Even though Facebook gets 12B page views per day with 630 million visitors, Google.com sees 9.1B page views on 750 million visitors:  Google needs more stickiness and has the visitors that given the right value can be redirected to google+
  • People are still learning about social networking, this is a new paradigm.  google+ represents a clean, fresh start on a new platform.  Annoyed by too many farm animals that need feeding on your Facebook farm?  Sell the farm and move to a new environment.  Too many distant friends on Facebook, be careful this time about who you accept friend requests from.  This is an opportunity for social networking 2.0, and for people to reboot their social networks.
  • It’s new.  I remember when Lycos was the search engine of choice but then the upstart Altavista took over.. it had the advantage, it was new.  New is great, new is fresh, in the digital age new is always preferred over old.  All other things being equal I believe that many digital consumers will choose new for new sake.
  • It has buzz.  Personally I think that the ‘overwhelming response’ is a marketing ruse to create scarcity.  I find it hard to believe that the goog can’t scale capacity, they do this for a living, they do this every day and they are very good at this.  If they wanted to offer unlimited invites I am sure they could.  This is like the new nightclub — make sure there’s a line and people will come.
  • It’s google.  This is an industry powerhouse that has breadth and depth.  They have many synergies between the social media business and other lines of business such as mobile payments, advertising, digital content distribution — I would argue that social networking should be at the heart of this strategy.  This is the missing link in a very robust ecosystem.
  • Good enough for Mark Zuckerberg, good enough for me.  I find it hard to interpret this news but it’s either an incredibly hilarious PR stunt that Zuckerberg has the most friends on google+ or he just simply has too much time on his hands and is earnestly looking for a new social networking platform and has been sending out invites feverishly.
  • The launch coincides with summer break when many of the most socially connected people have plenty of time to recreate their social networks
  • The features are fresh and innovative and include the ability to create and manage social network circles (keeping professional associates separate from school friends, for example)

I think they stand a good chance here, it seems like an important part of the Google strategy and one that is timed with a fatigue in the current platforms and concepts. After learning some lessons with previous platforms, people might be ready for a fresh start.

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