Peter VanRysdam / Marketing / July 21st, 2011

Do the Google+ Benefits Outweigh the Costs?

I’m on Google+. So are most of my coworkers. Apparently about 18 million other people are on there too. And my initial feeling is it’s cool, but not cool enough for me to leave Facebook or manage profiles in both places.
I know there are differences. I know about circles, the lack of ads, no farmville, and a host of other features designed to address annoyances with Facebook. But I also know Facebook started without ads, farmville, and a bunch of other things that have come with the growth. If you expect Google+ to be ad and annoyance free forever, then I have a site called I’d love to sell you.
The biggest difference being touted are circles. As one of the minority that takes advantage of grouping Facebook friends in to different categories (let’s call them ovals), I don’t see the real draw. Not only is it easy to make groups, but it’s easy to specify which content is seen by which group.

This would be a good time in this post to point out that I could care less about the success of Facebook. I’m not a stockholder yet, and they don’t send any business my way. But I am invested there. My friends are there along with my pictures, updates, notes, and games. In order to pick up and move to Google+, I need something significantly different.
I see it like having two houses on the same block. Each might have it’s own charm or different layout, but they both have a kitchen, some bedrooms, and some bathrooms. You get to use both, but you’ve got to clean both. You have to mow two yards, pay two electric bills, and furnish both. But at the end of the day, you can only use one at a time. This is how I see Facebook and Google+. And in that analogy, I already have a nice home over at Facebook, so why would I want another that is essentially the same? A vacation home at the beach? Sure. And that’s why I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn. While they aren’t exactly vacations, they are different enough from Facebook to warrant the time.

So what do you think? Are there differences I’m not getting? Are you staying put on Facebook, moving everything over, or attempting to maintain both? I for one am secretly hoping Google+ goes the way of Google Wave. Nothing against Google, but I just don’t have enough interesting things to say to keep two networks up to date!

  • Erin

    Maybe I’m seeing this more like I use Twitter, but to me, Facebook is always going to take the cake when it comes to personal social networking. I don’t think that Google is ever going to be able to compete with that. Where as Twitter has become my networking and industry following, maybe Google+ will be a hybrid of both social and professional content, but for now, I can’t see giving up Facebook entirely. I’m already too committed. That said, I may just hang around on Facebook for 6 more years and end it violently.

  • Mike

    Violence is not the answer. However I think the grade for Google+ is a D-, it isn’t dead but it isn’t alive. The real issue here is perception. Google+ could currently have more functionality that Facebook and none of us would know it. It is far too boring – I spent about 15 minutes on it since I opened my account after that very personal invitation came to me and said I had been selected as one of the few… or 1 of 18,000,000. There is no draw and it doesn’t have the reality piece that Facebook does. Most of what drives Facebook much like the Jersey Shore is the Drama and ability to peer into others’ lives if Google is privatizing that then what is left? If I wanted to "share something in a certain circle privately" why wouldn’t I just email it? If Google+ is going to be a game changer – they had better show up with a whole lot more than what they launched with. Is it too much to say it seems more like Google- ?

  • Len Doland

    I think that this article captures my thoughts exactly. I use LinkedIn for business and Facebook for friends. They already take up too much of my time, so although I signed up for Google + to see what it is all about, I am not seeing a game changer, so my take is that I don’t really need to be on yet another social network. Besides, only 10% of my Facebook friends are on Google +, so it just isn’t worth it. Also, I do most of my Facebook interaction from my Smartphone and Google + doesn’t have a mobile app for my particular phone. Bottom line, Google + gets a thumbs down from me.