Google Says Google+ “Is Not A Social Network”, Do You Agree?

Google Plus Bradley HorowitzThere’s no doubt that Google+ started on the right note – it came, saw and conquered the hearts of people all over the world. It had the wow factor and it hit other social media networks where it hurts the most.

And then Facebook hit back in style, launching one innovative feature after the other. Google+ responded back by opening itself to the enterprise with the launch of Google+ Pages and critics were back to their usual best – pitting Facebook Pages against Google+ Pages.

But now it seems Google’s had enough of Facebook vs. Google+ comparisons. Google, the world’s leading online search giant, has now changed its standard pitch and is saying that Google+ is not a social network that competes directly with Facebook.

As expected, people have interpreted this announcement in their own ways. Some believe Google is afraid of pitting Google+ against Facebook while others say the online search giant is now planning to market the broader Google+ ecosystem rather than just the social networking aspect.

In my opinion, it’s fair to say that Google+ is much more than being just a social network and here’s why.

The Google Ecosystem

I’ve always admired Google as a technology company mainly because of its robust and scalable ecosystem. Google was never a search-only company, instead it focused on building a platform and search was just the first, and one piece of the whole puzzle. It’s understandable that Google is now bringing all its ecosystem goodness to Google+ in the form of Google Apps, Hangouts and the newly introduced Google+ updates in search results.

In contrast, Facebook has almost exclusively focused on the social media aspects. As and when it ventured beyond its core strength, it’s been primarily through third-party support such as the Bing Facebook search deal with Microsoft.

The Social Web

Though the Internet originated as an information gathering network, the evolution of World Wide Web has now transformed it into a social web. The idea is for users to have users provide more personal information if they were to fully utilize the social products. In that sense, Google+ provides an unparalleled social web experience as compared to any other social network including Facebook.

As Google says, it’s all about users trust and convenience and once that’s established, users can avail the benefits of the social web. Google+ should be viewed as a web spider which links all of the company’s products together for the first time, thereby enhancing the overall social web experience.

Is Facebook a threat?

I’ve always maintained that Facebook and Google+ aren’t competitors in the purest sense. That’s true especially for businesses, where on one hand you have Facebook – proven social media advertising platform and a 700 million plus user community. On the other, you have a giant web crawler in Google+ – backed by the prowess of Google’s mighty web based ecosystem.

Do you treat Google+ as a social network? Or do you view it as just another piece in the larger Google ecosystem and why? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.

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  1. Ian Piepenbrock

    I agree, G+ is the social layar that brings all Google services together. I personally think that, in time, G+ will blow Facebook out of the water. And I’m talking B2C and B2B and C2C. It’s just simple math. If Google keeps innovating, doesn’t turn their social platform into a spammy mess like Facebook, FB will at one point be outgunned, by the flawless integration with other Google products. I don’t think FB can survive by just sticking to being a social network. They should’ve branched out while they still could…

  2. Abel Pardo

    Very good article, Douglas. It’s always interesting to read post like this, post for thinking about facts.

  3. J.C. Kendall

    So nice when someone actually gets it. There has been so much mis/disinformation about Google +, I’m actually surprised when someone writes a correct article on G+ Well Done. 

  4. Robin Cannon

    I like the idea of G+ as part of a wider Google ecosystem.

    I have some doubts because Google is surprisingly slow to actually interconnect its various services. The potential of a Google ecosystem is vast, but things are still far too scattered (e.g. the patchy nature of multiple sign in capability, or the inability to link your Google+ page to…well…very much at all). It seems that Google is making moves to achieve this, but it’s always been a huge failing and something they need to address with some urgency.

  5. Terri Nakamura

    Nice job, D.

    I don’t regard G+ as a social network in the sense that conversing with people within the framework of G+ isn’t the most efficient. But the more I use it, the more I like it and see it adds something new.

    G+ is like a dynamic magazine changes constantly—one where you can subscribe to, change, or ignore contributors.

    The notion that people can leave comments and interact there is the “social” part.

  6. Anonymous

    I don’t really regard Google Plus as a pure social network because it truth it is so much more. I view it as another Google place to gain and share knowledge on the things important to us.  I think Google has much bigger plans in store than offering just another social network. I can’t wait to see what the future of Google holds…

    Socially yours,
    Shirley 🙂

  7. Janomichi

    Google+ is not a social network because it does not have social activity!

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  9. Hopeternal

    Is is just me? If people want to search for something on the net, where do they go? It’s always helpful if users can share their opinions on the information they found. So it makes sense for Google to have some kind of social mix and even more sense to encourage business pages. You’ve just searched Google for specific information and voila, helpful commentary about the item(s) as well as business pages related to that item(s).

    So why would you want to be compared to a social network whose sole purpose is to accumalte as many users as possible, not caring about their opinions and not so much as a simple apology when unwanted pornographic and other disturbing images suddenly appear in your newsfeed? I say hooray to Google! You don’t want to be on that boat!

  10. JM Oemler

    To me, Google+ is more of a way to coordinate all my Google services and when I want to, share the results. I also use Twitter, and view it more of a social/commercial tool.  Using the available “G+ Twitter plug in”, even brings this into my Google+ window.  I personally consider the degree of control I have over who sees my “shares” far superior to Facebook.  I’ll leave FB to the kids and move on into the more grown-up world of Google+.

  11. Karen E. Lund

    First Twitter says it’s not a social network (although I’ve met more people IRL through Twitter than any other Internet site). Now Google says G+ isn’t a social network, although I’ve socialized (shared content & conversation) there. Facebook says it IS a social network, but I visit there once a week at best and don’t enjoy it.

    So maybe they’re right. And maybe I don’t like social networks.

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    I love Google+. It is a social tool added to an already powerful set of Google business tools. I feel that Google gave us a BIG power tool in our business toolbox, one with a big +.

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