It’s been just over a week since Google Plus was unveiled to the world. Google’s big new announcement wasn’t exactly a surprise, but the beauty and elegance of the product caught many off guard. The Google Plus launch will probably go down as a turning point in Google’s history. This will probably be the do or die moment for Google, as far its social media aspirations are concerned. Facebook has already established itself as the undisputed leader among social networks, and is currently well on its way to weaving itself into the very fabric of the interwebs. If Google fails now, it might not get the opportunity to fight another day. So it’s only but natural that the Google Plus launch caught the imagination of tech enthusiasts around the globe. The questions on everyone’s mind were Does Google ‘get social’? Can it finally succeed in challenging Facebook?
As expected from any major product launch, Google+ attracted everything from ebullient praises to utter disdain. I have been using Google Plus enthusiastically for the exactly a week now. In his initial review, my colleague Tony Price hailed Google Plus as one of the most amazing products he has ever seen. While my reactions are slightly more restrained, I am also amongst the hordes of geeks that Google Plus has succeeded in winning over. While the enthusiastic reception from early adopters is a positive sign, it doesn’t automatically imply mainstream success. Google is concerned by the growing influence of Facebook because through its ‘Like’ buttons Facebook is able to gather accurate personal data such as which movies you like, which movies your friends like, and which movie you might enjoy watching. Google is desperate to gain a foothold in the social web, because it can help them make sense of the semantic web, while supplying a treasure trove of additional data. However, in order to do this, Google Plus needs to achieve critical mass. Make no mistake, anything but large scale adoption will mean failure for Google+.