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Is Google Plus Really The Twitter Killer?

 And while Google plus seemed like a direct response to Facebook’s competition, many are now saying that Twitter could suffer the most from the success of Google’s new social network.

Google+ has recently passed the 50 million user threshold, and for the short time that it has been open to the public, that is a huge achievement that even Facebook and Twitter could not boast.  Of course, that is an apples to oranges comparison, considering that Google already ruled the world with its search engine and other tools when Google + was started.  Facebook and Twitter were started as nothing and became these giants of success.  And since Google had plenty of PR, experience, and money to use to promote its new social network, it gives them a huge edge in growing at this kind of rate.

To determine whether or not Google + will be a Twitter killer, we need to discuss who is using it.  When it first launched it was by invitation only, and so only the special few could use it to report back any bugs.  And technically Google + is still in beta mode, but it seems that mostly “geeks” and technology wizards are pumping up the numbers being added every day.  And while the interface has some interesting tools, it’s much more complex than what people are used to with Facebook and Twitter.

Most people use Facebook for personal use and LinkedIN for business purposes, but Twitter has been used for both quite commonly.  But still, Twitter has millions of accounts that have been opened and never used, either because someone just wanted to reserve a username or they simply did not “feel” the whole “tweet” thing.  Google + has tried to bridge that gap by using “circles” and being able to keep up with people you admire but may not really know you.

Some features that make Google + a mighty competitor to other social networks are the ease with which you can manage groups, the ability to organize circles of friends by topics, the ability to choose which groups can see the content you are sharing, and almost instant updates in the Google stream.

It’s obvious that Google has done their homework and have been sick and tired of social media getting all the buzz while they sit on the sidelines.  But for the power user of Twitter, they will have to decide if they want to give up those thousands of followers to try to find them on Google + when they are still unsure of the social network’s future.

Google + has grown so quickly that it’s really impossible to determine how many of those users will stick.  The advantage of growing slowly is that your attrition rate will not be as high, but if Google has a good product people will have no reason to return to the other social networks that waste their time.  Ideally, Google would like to pretty much “own” your time on the internet.  They want you to use them for every search you make, every message you want to get out to your friends, and every status update in your Google + profile.  They don’t want you to return to Facebook and Twitter because they have no control over those properties, and the more Google can control your internet usage, the more money they can make off of you.  That’s right.  Never doubt that Google is doing all of this because they actually like you.  They just like your money.

But Twitter still has several advantages over Google+.  First it has a huge user base of about 200 million people who are religious about the service.  After all, remember that it was Twitter that told us first about something going on when Osama Bin Laden was killed.  Twitter is used for real conversations that go on in real time.  It is used in TV shows for people to chat about what is happening in the show and it is used in conferences to ask questions and make comments.   And while Google + can do some of the same things, we are creatures of habit that don’t like things to be fixed when they work just fine.  This is an argument Google + will have to face head on.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.