Could I offer you; another social network?

I’ll admit it, I’m really curious to see what the Google+ project is all about! No, I don’t have an invitation and judging on this post I probably will have to wait a while before I get one. But when I do I will certainly give it a try!

Even though its not even fully accessible yet, opinions are already given on its merits and potential. And even though I’ve only seen the slick presentations and haven’t had a chance to explore it myself. My first reaction is leaning towards the ones that don’t really see a future for this new social platform here……

 The reason being that this market has already more or less been conquered by Facebook.
Why would a user move over to Google+ when almost everything they can do there is available (or will most likely be available shortly) on Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn? You don’t want to start all over again after you spent months/years building your social network, do you?!?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Facebook and Twitter will remain dominant in this market forever but I do think that any replacement will have to offer a lot more then some shiny new features to wean their target audience of them.

So what would it take me to be convinced to really switch over to let say Google+?
Apart from new functionalities (Hangouts, Huddles and Circles definitely look interesting!) I guess the main feature that could win me over would be a possibility of using the functionality without loosing my already existing social network. So instead of having to convince all my friends of Google+ benefits to get them to move over I would like a system that allows me to invite my existing Twitter/Facebook contacts to the new functionalities like Hangouts, Huddles and Circles allowing them to log in with their existing Twitter/Facebook credentials.

Mmm… nice for the user but how would this benefit Google+? Well, simply allow users with a foreign (eg Twitter or Facebook) account to use the functionality when invited, but build in a catch like not allowing them to initiate new Huddles, Hangouts, etc. This limits them in their usage and at the same time shows them the benefits of moving over. Then as deal closer offer them an easy registration process that copies in all the relevant data, pictures and information from their Twitter/Facebook account. Effectively eliminating their need to manually recreate their social profile. That, I think would make it a really strong contender. As said before, I haven’t seen the darn thing yet, so who knows, maybe some of this is already in it. 

But even if all this was possible there’s one more reason why I think Google+ could struggle:….. Its commercial.

I mean there is no illusion what Google’s main purpose in life is: To sell adds. So joining a network exposing all of my personal interests and contact information to a company who’s using that info to sell me goods…..I don’t know……
Then again, Facebook isn’t that idealogic student startup either anymore and is there really anything Google doesn’t know about us already?!?

Future will tell how this will all pan out. It’ll either be another Google Wave or maybe the new Facebook. Whatever it’s going to be, it’ll certainly be a thing to keep an eye out for!