I will start with a very short story.
When two cousins of mine were about 5 and 2 years of age, the one that was 2 was crying and their mother (my aunt) was trying to console him. The one that was 5 came around and inquired, “What’s happening mummy? Why is baby crying?”. The mum responded “Baby does not want to relax”. The 5 year old looked at the little baby with concern, then began to shake him violently “RELAX! RELAX!! RELAX!!!” he commanded.
Larry, that is what you are doing to us with Google Plus. “HAVE FUN HERE!!! HAVE FUN HERE!!” You are commanding. You are integrating the plus button everywhere, from the browser to every search result. I am afraid, it is not going to work that way. There are some activities that just cannot be forced. Having fun is one of them.
Google Plus had it’s chance though but did not take it. While you were forcing us to have fun, you were not listening. The baby could not speak, but we can, we did, but you did not listen. For instance, here is a little thing that might have made a lot of difference. You know that annoying red notification thing on the right? It prevented me from properly curating my circles. I just got into the habit of ignoring all. Friends and foes alike.
However, all is not lost. You will now see why AirTime is mentioned in the title of this post. Larry, Google Hangout is a KILLER feature or product of G+. EVERYONE says it. Why don’t you guys pivot and center Google Plus around instant and synchronous communication (Chat + Video). I argued this with the Googlers I met in Nigeria and from my interaction, I got the message “No negotiations. Larry wants it this way, and this way it shall be”.
Anyway, Sean Parker’s AirTime is launching soon and I am sure it will be centered around what I have been saying to you. You have it, but do not recognise it. It is interesting that even the big boys prefer the thing of others. So before you attempt buying AirTime, maybe you could just give Google Plus a chance. If I were to give you one guiding advice, it would be this let it flow.
PS: I wrote this about a week ago but decided to publish now after seeing Google needing to ‘host’ Nigerian celebrities to push the uptake of Google +. If you have to pay so much for your product to be used, then.. *sigh*. Instagram rebuffed compensation demand from Justin Bieber’s people when he started using their app. His response? He used it anyway. It was/is that good.
Earlier today, I was reading comments on Hacker News discussing the decline of traffic on Google Plus. When Google Plus launched, people (including myself) thought it would give Facebook a really though time considering it had many vital features missing from face book Facebook.
- An Easy way to filter and separate what you share and what is shared with you
- The One way follow. i.e you could accumulate a large following without the burden of having to accept them as ‘friends’ and in return get lots of ‘news’ polluting your feed
- The ability to distribute every type of item including text updates.
Rather than build up momentum on what they had started by updating features (linking the mobile Huddle to GTalk) and letting more people in, Google was more concerned about getting the real names of people and punishing people on Gmail for offenses committed on Google Plus.
While Google was busy doing that, Facebook was thinking of different ways to regain momentum. They released Messages, the Skype integration and I said ‘meh’. Yesterday, I heard they released a feature that allows you to subscribe to people. I was not too impressed because ‘unresponded’ friend request acted as subscription. And my settings is such that non-friends can comment on my status. So to me it was not a big deal.
Then I saw this.
Being able to re-share text is such a big deal that you will not understand its implication. In simple terms, your ‘witty words’ can spread far beyond you. That is the single thing that made Twitter VERY powerful. Making words go viral. The only difference is that unlike in Twitter and Google plus, you do not need to struggle to get a following.
So as it is, Gaddafi has a greater chance for a comeback than Google Plus. Difficult? yes. Impossible? No
Two things Facebook might do which will be ‘finishing moves’ (those that played mortal kombat will understand) to Twitter and Google Plus
- Create a dedicated app for sharing text only.
- Allow people to post updates that can be read without logging in.
But hey, it is rumored that the aim of Google plus is to force Facebook open. If that is the case, Google might be happy with Facebook’s ‘progress’
- To activate subscription on your profile, check the bottom of your profile picture. you can only see it on the web version on Facebook.
- The share button is not activated for everyone yet.
- Go ahead and see if you can see the subscribe button on the top right corner of my profile
- After this will there be a need for popular living individuals to have Fan pages?