Let me make one thing clear, Facebook is continuing to grow. A $100 billion valuation is expected for Facebook’s initial public offering and the site as 600 million users. Growth, however, is seen primarily outside the United States. U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Russia have been losing friends.
It seems as soon as Facebook becomes too popular, registration in a given country stops. According to Inside Facebook 6 million users in the U.S. left in May. This was the first domestic decrease in a year. Canada saw a loss of 1.52 million. Facebook has been able to make up losses with gains in countries like Mexico, Brazil, India, and Indonesia.
What do Networkers Want?
One thought is that social networkers are going to look for anonymity again or will seek niche networks over those with mass appeal. Once your mom (sorry mom, I love you and it’s totally cool with me that you’re on Facebook) and everyone you know is on Facebook, the site begins
to lose its mystery.
What is Google Plus?
In a lot of ways Google + looks and feels very much like Facebook. Profile pics are in the top left corner. With photos and personal stats just to the right. Post pictures, videos, and what you’re up to on the status bar. The stream with news from your friends allows you to put in your two cents on their life.
Google Plus is marketing itself as “Real-life sharing, rethought for the web.” The project is supposed to allow connections that mirror real life. Plus will satisfy the desire to communicate with niche groups.
The Circle feature allows users to share different things with each circle. Your circles could be coworkers, family, and close friends. This way your coworkers or 13-year-old niece won’t need to hear about your overindulging in alcohol. And your golf buddies won’t read about your
passion for crochet. This feature seems much more user-friendly and better integrated than Facebook’s groups.
I heard Sparks are compared to newspaper clippings. This is how you get your news socially. Spark looks for videos and articles based on what you like. You choose when to watch, read, and share. Hangouts are the place to chat on Plus. One huge difference between Plus and Facebook is that on Google’s social network you have a video chat option in Hangouts.
With Plus you’re able to do instant mobile upload of photos. All your phone pics go to a private album on Google + automatically. Then all you have to do is decide who gets to see them. Huddle allows group conversations (as an alternative to texting multiple people at once.)
How do I Sign Up?
The Google + tool is still in test mode. Because it is in field trial and full to capacity, the network is not currently accepting new members. You are able to sign up for notices by entering your email address at plus.google.com
Although it seems that most new tools are just added to the arsenal (not fully replacing older ones), as with any tech advancement, a network can only stay on top for so long. With a recent decline in US Facebook accounts, are users getting bored? Will Google + give them what they want? Only time will tell.