On Sunday, it was announced that two of the more popular features of Google+ – Photos and Streams – would be managed as separate entities. The aftermath of the post was an explosion of OMGs and finger wags at Google’s failed social network across the social interwebs. For a platform that many decried as dead since shortly after it’s launch, I find it quite curious about all of the current attention that the move is garnering. (Note: Hangouts will not be part of this shift). As I was reading through folks posts on Facebook and reading through some of the articles, I took the time to stop and toss my two cents out their on friend Amy Vernon‘s Facebook post on the topic (verbatim below):
I actually find this very interesting and relevant for them. While google did a hatchet job with Google+ in regards to publicizing it, it did have some really interesting things come out of it – Photos, Hangouts and in some ways the stream. I am actually more surprised with the fingerwagging from the social media space.
Google allows for failure and rapid innovation, they are also good at cutting their losses – Glass anyone? These splits are actually fascinating to me as an Android and intenet user. The tools are fucking awesome (I can say fuck here right?) and really breathed new life into Picassa.
With streams, I see it in two different lights. As a marketer, it is a gateway drug and helpful tie in to discovery. Knowing hashtags and allowing for some manipulation in the proper way, you can get found. The whole logged in search is enhanced by this. Also with the tie in to the Google search engine, if your branded searches don’t have competitors, you get the whole right side which drives a shit ton of traffic to what is now the streams of brands. As a user, I see this as a further extension of using Plus as an RSS feedreader – which is similar to what they had in two separate iterations.
At the end of the day, we can all decry Plus as a failure, but we should look beyond the + sign and more towards the word Plus. Google owns email and search (video too)… Plus now they offer photo storage, privacy filters and RSS without having to leave one URL.
But then again, there may also be legal reasons like the whole creating a “social profile” because you bought a phone or wanted an email or to comment on a cat video on YouTube.
So to conclude, I think that this move is smart for Google and beneficial for the end user. Sure there may be altruistic reasons for this from the Google, but I also think that you cannot call Google+ a failure. The platform was never going to be Facebook, but rather keep you on Google properties without having to leave one domain and seamlessly stay with a singular login. To that extent Google succeeded. They also had three viable products: Stream, Photos (as a dad, I love the way that the photos I take are instantly backed up privately) and Hangouts. Hangouts has the potential to be disruptive if used at an enterprise level and take shots at video conferencing software companies or freeware offerings like Skype (owned by Microsoft).
The futuristic ball is still cloudy as what this means overall, but hey that’s what makes it fun. Oh – and put your finger down.