Day one of Google’s latest assault on Facebook

Google versus Facebook

Google yesterday announced its latest assault on the world of social and more specifically, Facebook. With Facebook’s massive user base and seemingly relentless desire to bring the entire internet inside Facebook, Google has for some time been looking for a way to address the threat to its bottom line.

The Google+ project, revealed yesterday with little fanfare via a blog post by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President, Engineering, is what Google hopes will be the answer to Facebook’s social dominance.

At the centre of Google’s premise is that “not all relationships are created equal” and therefore you might not want to share everything with everyone. As our online social networks have developed and we’ve become more switched on regarding what we’re sharing and with whom, we’ve increasingly become more selective about sharing. With Google+, Google is betting that we’d prefer to be selective within a single social platform rather than managing multiple social networks for different types of people e.g. LinkedIn for business, Facebook for friends and family.

Google is currently limiting who can access Google+ via a ‘closed beta’ so that it can quickly and easily react to user feedback. However, Google is hoping its range of new features will be too compelling to ignore:

+Circles – share different content with different social circles
+Sparks – find the content you (and others) love via an online sharing engine
+Hangouts – ‘hang out’ online, face-to-face with your friends (essentially an instant messaging/video calling application – watch out Skype!)
+Mobile – easily share pictures, experiences, your location etc wherever you are

As this is still day one and limited people have access to it, there’s no way of knowing if Google+ will be a success, let alone make even a small dent in Facebook’s dominant position. One of the key barriers to take up will be prising people away from Facebook and on to a new platform.

As for the impact on brands, well the jury is most certainly out. We’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye on developments though and advising clients as and when opportunities arise.

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