Google Plus’s Real Goal is Not to Kill Facebook, but to Force it to Open

66 Comments 07.09.11

I’ve been so focused on the user experience of Google’s new social network Plus that I haven’t thought very much about the big picture, I must admit. Listening tonight to an interview with Plus designer Joseph Smarr on the IEEE Podcast it became clear to me that for at least some of Plus’s leadership the goal is not to win social networking outright, or to kill any competitors, but to disrupt the social networking economy with a big enough, good enough and popular enough service that the walled gardens (Facebook in particular) are forced to open up interoperability enough that their users can communicate with the significant enough number of people in their lives that use a different social network. Back in the bad old days, customers of one phone network couldn’t call customers of other phone networks, then people couldn’t email out-of-network. Today people can’t be social across networks, but few people mind because everyone they care about is on Facebook. Plus is a big push to change that. Interoperability will be better for the open web and thus better for Google. It should also be better for consumer choice and satisfaction, in the long run. As long as Face-oogling or whatever doesn’t become as frustrating in the future as dealing with phone companies is today. But they do have interoperability!

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it this way before. I hope the plan works. One more cool thing about Plus.

I’d post a link to my Plus profile here but I wrote this whole post on my phone, sitting on the sidewalk in front of my house, in the dark. (Cutting sod that’s grown over my walkway.) I’m not hard to find there though and am lots of fun to talk to, I promise.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/millardboutique Lädy Millard

    The thing is Facebook didn’t listen to it’s users 1 year go with all those design changes. More than 50% of it’s users are still pissed from that. I know I am.

    And with all the design changes they did, they forgot to create better user experience.

    But to me it is clear that Facebook knew about Google Plus and gave us some of it features.

  • http://www.facebook.com/millardboutique Lädy Millard

    Not if Facebook keeps ignoring it’s users -

    1. Facebook controls your interaction with your friends and what ever you post it looks like spam.

    2. The UI is very 1986 – what happened to web 2.0?

    3. You are not allowed to access anything else but Facebook while on facebook.

    Google+ gives access to development – learning – sharing = PROGRESS
    Facebook keeps you locked in to it’s controls.
    If I want to email all my friends I should be able to.

    G+ me https://plus.google.com/111471580078780443484

  • http://newstechnica.com David Gerard

    G+ is INSANELY keen to get location data if you use it on a phone. It just won’t let me go to the site on my BlackBerry (using the internal browser, there’s no app) unless I agree to give them my location data. So no, G+ is not just a judo move against Facebook.

  • Guest

    After reading the comments, I really think “open” may be the strategy of Google of taking the place of Face……

  • http://www.smithmonitoring.com/ Home Security

    I’ve been used my Facebook theses days, and I found it great.Thank you.

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  • Anonymous

    I had never thought of it that way before. I always just thought that Google was in it to take over Facebook and steal their users. I do like Google+, and it’s features, but for it to scare Facebook, it needs to do something more! Still not many people use it compared to Facebook, the percentage against them must be so low. (there are stats to show that even most Google managers don’t use Google+ – quite interesting) http://www.lucidica.com/blog/cto/management-of-google-dont-seem-to-love-google/
    but it would be so cool to think that in the future they will both hold their place!

  • prince

    Sponsoredplus is a social marketing company focused on providing valuable google+ votes.just visit sponsoredplus.net, Buying Plus Ones can drastically improve your search engine ranking.

  • http://www.lifeshield.com/home-security/georgia/s/savannah savannah georgia home security

    Loved reading all the views posted and I am sure more will follow. Google v/s Facebook v/s the rest?

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    i think you may be right.

  • Carole Bradbury

    Any “new” comments,besides mine?? Tech? These comments are a year old and I’m almost a year older as well..Technology sucks…for me!Blah,Blah,Bla

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  • Jim

    Great post…