This post follows on from a post I put together a month or so ago, when I joined Google+, the world’s newest social network. I wasn’t quite as scathing as I have been over most of Google’s latest upstarts or acquisitions. It looked nice. It was slick. But I was skeptical as to whether it would grab any of Facebooks market share. The thing with a global social network is, Facebook already has pretty much everyone bought into their system. No one is going to abandon Facebook unless all (or at least most) of their friends do too.
After a months worth of use, I have a few more observations. I’ve rapidly accumulated nearly 100 followers. That’s approaching half the number of friends I have gained on Facebook in about a hundredth of the time. That reflects what other people and tech blogs are reporting. Big growth. And that’s a stat that counts for nought, because of all those followers, I have met only a couple of them. Another 20 are ‘digital friends’ that I know from Flickr. The rest? Lord only knows where they sprung from. I don’t these sorts of mass ‘friending by strangers’ on Facebook. And that’s rather how I’d like Google+ to be.
Thomas Hawk, a blogger I read regularly, is reporting that Flickr is Dead. Due in large part to how Google+ works for photographers. I have to say that Google+ is at its slickest when working with photographs. I uploaded a set of my London photos today, a screenshot of which is posted below- you can see the album by clicking here. I think it looks a ton better than Flickr. It’s vibrant, fills the screen and has an awesome Lightbox feature. But. There are drawbacks. The biggest is that Google+ is nothing more than a fancy shop window for Picasa. And I really don’t like Picasa. Ugly, ugly, ugly. A photo sharing site should be enclosed in a single system.
The Android App for Google+ is very good though. It’s positively a thousand times better than the clunky and unreliable Facebook app. I like the ideas of circles too, although the Google Video function leaves me a little cold too. So at this moment in time I still think Facebook has the tools it needs to see off the challenger. It has the market share. It has all the bells and whistles today, whilst Google+ers will have to wait till tomorrow. It has Skype. Facebook just needs to encapsulate its tools into a tidier platform, with better integration for the other big hitting web apps. Flickr, meanwhile, isn’t dead. Thomas Hawk makes this declaration every time a shiny new thing comes along. It is stagnant though, and I’m still hoping for a Microsoft buy out to get some cash, energy and fresh ideas injected into the company.