Google Plus Minus People Equals Thud

October 5, 2011

Google Plus received a lot of hype after it launched, and the idea that it was a “Facebook killer” was mentioned left and right.

Now, months after the service launched, what do we hear? A thud. And a pretty loud one at that.

This isn’t caused by it not being a good product; more so, I believe it’s partially due to how the product was launched.

The tech crowd, as well as a bunch of marketers, jumped on the beta launch and touted features, but that’s primarily because it was a “shiny new tool that we could do new things with.”

But that’s where I think Google hit a wall.

The social network received a lot of great praise, but amidst all of the chatter there was one major thing missing – hundreds of millions of consumers.

I just visited my Plus stream and the first 25 updates were made by 7 people. It’s kind of like going to the prom and everyone stands around staring at the dance floor – boring right? Google Plus currently lacks the “normal folks” that talk about dogs, their kids, what they are watching on TV and all the other random stuff that comes to mind.

Google Plus still very well may turn things around, but there are two fundamental things that could have been done to possibly positively impact the end result:

  1. Allow people to join without an invite at an earlier date. Doing so would have allowed the masses to get caught up in the hype.

  2. Have business pages ready to go from Day 1. When Plus launched, businesses were chomping at the bit to get on board, but Google held up a stop sign and said not to join. This step, in my opinion, is a huge detriment to getting mass consumers onboard and getting added exposure. This item is a chain reaction of sorts. If businesses were onboard, they would have actively promoted Plus (think Facebook / Twitter mentions on TV), which would have help draw consumers to the network.

I’m sure we could dissect this even more, which is always easier to do in hindsight, but it’s a good example of why it’s important to look at a product launch from multiple standpoints. Google is full of engineers and I’m sure they were excited to hear lots of online chatter… but from a public relations standpoint, it very well may have been chatter from the wrong audience.

It will be interesting to see how the product continues to develop, if at all, and how the implementation of +1’s in search ads impact consumer’s behavior – which may prove to be the savior of Google Plus.