Monday, 1 July 2013

Google+ at 2 Years: An Assessment

Two years ago Friday, Google unveiled its social network Google+ to the world.

In the early days, Google described Google+ as a "social layer" rather than a pure social network, partly because Google+ permeates lots of different services, and partly to offset the idea that Google+ was an attempt to directly compete with Facebook and Twitter.

Make no mistake, however, two years in, Google+ is most definitely a social network.

There are more than 500 million Google+ users and reportedly more than 300 million of those users are active.

Although Google hasn't formally made any Google+ anniversary announcements, the Google+ team is certainly in a celebratory mood.

When you're logged into Google+, a special logo shows up commemorating two years of the network.

Moreover, Google+ hashtags such as #GooglePlusLove and #GooglePlusIs2 are showing memories of Google+ team members and celebratory congratulations from users.

Dave Besbris and Google+ chief Vic Gundotra shared this GIF with the community:

When Google+ launched in 2011, it was the company's third attempt at social - coming after the high-profile failures of Google Wave and Google Buzz.

Initial enthusiasm around Google+ was high — especially in the early months when the service was invite-only and before brands were technically allowed on the platform.

Many were quick to laud Google+ as the next Facebook or Twitter.

By the time the service launched to the public at large, however, some of the luster had worn off.

It didn't help that when Google started touting its strong Google+ user numbers, the company failed to distinguish between people who have Google+ accounts.

As the result of being harangued into creating an account via Gmail versus those genuinely engaged in the Google+ social network.

As a result, the narrative for much of 2012 was that Google+ as a ghost town — a classification its most loyal users vociferously deny.

Two years in, I think that neither position represents the true reality of Google+.

For whatever reason, I was on the original suggested user list that Google put out for Google+ (to the best of my knowledge I'm no longer on that list and have not been for well over a year).

As a result, I'm in more than 900,000 circles on Google+.

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