Declaring Google+ the Best Software of 2011 may appear a bit premature. Google Plus/Google+ has provoked a lot reactions on the Net. There has been a lot of positive reviews but also some notable nays. Nonetheless, there are at least 7 very compelling reasons why Google + is the best software introduction of 2011. However, before listing those it would be well to cite some of the best All About Google+ References:
Google – the official Google blog introductory reference
SearchEngineLand – an incisive look at the Google+ vs Facebook tradeoffs
WebAppStorm – one of the first and best getting started Guides to Google+ with plenty of screenshots and explanations for how it works
Wired – the story on the making of Google+.
The Yeas are significant but like ye Editor, guarded mostly.
Computerworld – catches the enterprise business opportunity represented by Google+
Computerworld2 – Mike Elgan provides most convincing arguments for Google+
idealo.co.uk – Positive with good analysis of impact on Facebook
GoogleWatch – guarded but grudgingly upbeat appraisal; lots of good links
Louis Gray – looks inside and likes what he sees
MacWorld – best quality IT media review so far
ReadWriteWeb – very interesting thumbs up but too short
Tantek Çelik – sees open source opportunity and vigorous Facebook response
TechCrunch – one of the best first looks with analysis; also good links at the end
The Nays are Numerous
Actually the nays are from some longstanding technology observers and some invested interests. Here is a list:
Business Insider – provides detailed look at Google+and decides its just not good enough.
Forbes+Adam Hartung – see the current user lead of Facebook in social domain as a critical impenetrable barrier; but relies on others for technical appraisal and they are off the mark
Infoworld – Cringely says “Google+ is mostly minus”
Robert Scoble – though a big Google+ user, Scoble says “why yo daddy won’t use Google+, no noise control”
Silicon Alley Insider – “Wow, Google+ Looks EXACTLY Like Facebook”
Dave Winer – sees this as a vendetta against Facebook by Google
There are some very astute IT veterans that don’t like Google+ including the investment wise Silicon Alley Insiders. And the bulk of the points are that a)Facebook has a massive user lead and b) Facebook has done all that is in Google+ in some form or another. As we shall see below, ye Editor thinks the Silicon Alley folks are off the mark … and not by a little.
Having done this Yeas and Nays report, ye Editor thinks that it is time to get off the fence post and in the style of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan declare that Google+ is a natural replacement for Facebook. First, Google+ will take large user share from Facebook because:
1)it makes being and communicating with friends an easily modulated and not broadcast event;
2)it reduces the security and privacy risks relative to Facebook;
3)it provides a text messaging and video conferencing combination not available in Facebook;
3)it does not yet have an API or apps like Facebook but I am picking up glints of what is to come. Google+ apps with API/SDK and integration with Google Mail are the yet to be disclosed key success factors for Google+. But Google has created a tough target for Facebook to match. For example, simplifying Facebook Groups into something as elegant as Google+ Circles will not be easy to do quickly while Huddle, Hangouts, and Sparks are clear winners and harder to replicate.
Second, Google finally has a unifying and highly usable interface beyond Marissa-minimalist across all of its products and services which is prerequisite to winning in the consumer social web sphere. And that interface is under the very savvy design guidance of Andy Hertzfeld – a very big plus for Google.
Third, Google+ is not only an interface that ChromeOS and Google Apps will love; but also has the basic services that will electrify the Google Apps offerings. In no small part Google+ with Hangouts will hangout to dry Microsoft’s newly acquired Skype + recently consolidated LiveMeeting conferencing software. Free, 10 person conferencing? Do you see competitive advantage over Facebook, FaceTime and anything Redmondnite?
Fourth, eHarmony and Match.com will be trilling no love songs for Google+ because Circles, Hangouts, Huddle and Sparks will provide services for free which they charge for or really wish they had. Implied in Facebook, Twitter, Flickr Match etcetra is a socializing environ for which all have been found wanting. Google+ is one step ahead. One could see a 3rd party Match.com-like service built on a Goggle+ base so that is why the Google+ API/SDK is so important.
Fifth, having a Gmail account is required for using Google+ ; hmmm what do you suppose is going to happen with Hotmail and Yahoo Mail usage.
Sixth, following from the excellent Wired article by Steven Levy on the creation of Google+ , it is eveident that the whole of Google is geared to getting on board with Google+. After all this is the company’s new interface. So for the remainder of the year at least, there will be a series of Google+ Goodies announcements which will keep the software up front and in the IT media radar screens – call it the Apple/Steve Jobs Media Glow Effect.
Seventh and finally, do IT observers not see the brilliant business opening and strategy? Give away the the social media interface for free to consumers. Wrest large user share from Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Buzz, Flickr and many other social media. Therefore protect your Google Search Engine’s access to the masses sentiments and proclivities while also preserving Ad space if required. Use those hundreds of millions of home users as the spearhead troopers that bring GoogleBiz++ into corporate IT shops. With Google+, Google Apps, Chrome OS, Mail, Portal plus two dozen other Google Services now have a unifying interface/framework for delivering value in a business setting that Google can get paid for[check off Marketwatch’s John Dvorak’s burning requirement for Larry and Sergei].
But GoogleBiz++ will have to supply help, training, admin and operational scripting plus support services on a scale that Google in the past have been very reluctant to engage in – so Google could still fumble their nearly achieved Web+Cloud+Desktop advantage, faster than Maria Sharapova double faulted her way out of a 2nd Wimbledon Title. But starting with the best Software Introduction of 2011 is no mean feat and appears to supply the company with the base technology for another 4-7 years of profitable business in the highly disruptive and game changing IT tech sector.