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.