With the release of Google+, the social networking 800-pound gorilla known as Facebook has just gained a formidable opponent. Google has had great success over the years (and some flops) in a wide range of ventures, but what they are exceptionally good at is organizing the world’s information. They are better at sifting through data than anyone else, even Facebook. They are the experts at making data meaningful and relevant and they practically wrote the book on targeted marketing through text ads.
So then, while Facebook obviously has the people (with more than 750 million active users) and the momentum, Google has the skills needed to take social networking to the next level. Moreover, we use Google on a daily basis for one of the most important online tasks, that of finding what we’re looking for. While yes, Google also helps us communicate (though Gmail, Google Voice and other products) the primary use of Google for most folks has been as a search engine.
Therefore, the only way Google+ will do more than simply survive in the social networking field is if they make the most of their search technology. While Facebook has decent search functionality, it is directed primarily within the walls of the Facebook site. Google has the power and technology to link the entire web to our Google+ profiles, so that the two biggest tasks of our online lives can merge into one. We would seamlessly search for what we’re looking for and communicate with our friends, family, acquaintances, fans and followers.
Keep in mind, we’re all somewhat lazy. Right now we’re using Facebook as our communication platform and Google as our search platform. Imagine the power of merging the two. Imagine Google’s ability to make the web even more relevant for each user, beyond what they’ve already done through their search algorithms.
For now though, Google+ needs to continue to pick up momentum just to try to get anywhere near Facebook’s success. That will take a while, but with the right vision, the folks from Mountain View just might be able to pull it off.