Why Google+ Will Not Overtake Facebook, Not In 2 Years, Not Ever [Opinion]

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image1   Why Google+ Will Not Overtake Facebook, Not In 2 Years, Not Ever [Opinion]A while ago, Erez published a good piece about why he thinks Google+ will overtake Facebook in less than 2 years. While some of his arguments are solid, and I happen to like what Google is doing with Google+, I find it hard to believe that we’ll see Facebook disappearing in as little as two years. In fact, I think it’s going to take way more than one new social network to get rid of the social phenomenon called Facebook.

Before I begin let me just state that I am not against innovation, and I really do like Google+, usually even more than Facebook. But just because we like something better, doesn’t mean it’s going to win. Here is why, in my opinion, Facebook will stick around for a long long time to come.

The Real People Are There

Do you know of many people who don’t have a Facebook account? Whether they rarely use it or spend their entire day updating their status, one way or another, most people we know are using Facebook. And the numbers are only growing. How many people do you know who use Google+? And I don’t mean the opinion leaders or celebrities; I’m talking about the real people, your friends.

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True, the Google+ picture changes according to country, but in some countries, like where I live, most people don’t use Google+, even though Gmail is highly popular. So great, I’m on Google+, but who else is there? My news stream is made up of the 4 same people all the time, and all I’m left to do is add to my circles people I don’t even know. But don’t we have Twitter for that?

Facebook Is A Groundbreaker

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Say what you want, Facebook was there first. It may not be the first ever social network, but it’s definitely the first one to revolutionize our lives as it did. Nowadays, when people hear of Google+ (and I don’t mean people who hate Facebook anyway), the first thing they ask themselves is “how is this better than Facebook?”. And it doesn’t even matter if Google+ is better than Facebook. The point is that is has to be in order for people to move there. Even Google are pitching Google+ on the grounds of how it compares to Facebook.

The average person has been using Facebook for 3-4 years. Here comes this new service which is the same, but different. Why should he move there? And this very thing will and does stop many people from migrating everything over to Facebook. As long as people don’t do that, Facebook will stick around.

Why Should I Add The Same People Again?

Building on the two previous point, there is the issue of friends we’ve already added on Facebook. Personally, I find it weird to add the same people all over again on a new network. When speaking of close friends, this is not a problem, but what about all those people who are acquaintances, or those you drifted apart from over the years, but still like to follow through Facebook? It’s just too weird to go and add them again on Google+.

This social awkwardness leads many people to have very few people in their circles, which prevents Google+ from really taking off for them. It might be a good place to follow the opinion leaders, but when it comes to your real friends, most people will still go back to Facebook.

Who Doesn’t Know Of Facebook?

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Let’s have a little experiment. Call your parents and ask them if they know what Facebook is. Now ask them if they know Google+. What were the answers? This, again, will probably change from country to country, but it all boils down to the fact that everyone knows Facebook. Whether they use it or not, they know about it.

Everyone also knows Google. It’s where you search for things. And although Google does much more than that, people do not think of it as a social network. And until this changes, Facebook is not going anywhere.

Easier To Create An Account

This brings me to the somewhat elaborate process of creating a Google+ account. I know, it seems simple, but what if you don’t already use Google products? Hard to imagine, but some people actually don’t have a Google account. So first, you need to create a Google account.

image3   Why Google+ Will Not Overtake Facebook, Not In 2 Years, Not Ever [Opinion]

Now is when you find out you can’t use anything but your full real name. Aliases? Nicknames? Forget it. Full disclosure is the name of Google’s game. Are you under 18? Until not so long ago, you couldn’t even join Google+. It had to be perfect first.

So while it’s really not the end of the world to open a Google account, it’s still much harder to join Google+, especially for people who are not very tech-savvy. Facebook is much less restrictive, and while this might not always be for the best, it’s going to keep it around for a very long time yet.

Does NOT Feel Like Part Of The Web

One of the most common arguments in favor of Google+ is that it integrates with everything and it’s simply part of your web experience. You get notifications no matter which Google page you are on, and when searching for something on Google, you sometimes find Google+ shares before the actual articles. But is this a good thing?

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What I like about Facebook is how I can shut it off whenever I want and simply forget it. I can’t do this with Google+. The thing is everywhere. Some people have even closed their account because of the flood of notifications they simply couldn’t get rid of. I don’t want my social network to be part of my e-mail service or part of my search when I work. I want to access it when I’m feeling social, and I want to be able to control it.

Facebook, with all its imitations, at least gives me that.

Conclusion

Facebook is far from perfect. This article is not here to argue why Facebook is better than Google+, but why Google+ will have a very hard time taking over. What do you think? Is Facebook going to stick around for ages to come, or am I completely wrong about this? What do you think is the future of social networking? Share in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock, Shutterstock

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57 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Dave Parrack

I cannot see Google+ catching up with Facebook. The latter is too well-known and too embedded in the Web to be overthrown easily. Facebook is likely to hit 1 billion users in 2012 as well, so its growth isn’t exactly slowing.

Google+ is clearly here to stay, even though I cannot yet see the appeal, but it’s no Facebook beater.

278

Google+ reached 20 Million Daily Unique Visitors as of december against Facebook 170+. This article can’t be any desperate for hits.

In 6 months Google+ HAS achieved that. In 5 years I don’t see Facebook anymore.

Google+ got Search, Youtube, Android unders its manteau and more to come. Im sorry but for a 6 months old service. You are pretty wrong.

Dave Parrack

You disagree with my opinion. That’s very different than me being wrong. Just because I cannot see it happening doesn’t mean it won’t. The same goes for your view.

Yaara

I don’t argue that Google+ is not successful or that it’s not going to be more successful, I just think Facebook is not going to disappear just because Google+ is around.

I guess we’ll see what happens in a few years. :)

Matthew Pitts

David, I disagree about it not being a Facebook beater. One of the things I find I like about Google+ is that it has the clean, simple lines that Facebook is gradually doing away with; there have been so many “improvements” that I detest made within the last three or four months on FAcebook that even though I have family there, I’m tempted to only visit once a week starting the next few weeks.

Dave Parrack

For you it is a Facebook beater then, but for me and millions of others it simply isn’t. I’m perpetually logged into Facebook, but visit Google+ once a week or so. That may change over time, but for now Google still has a lot to do to convince me it’s worthy of my time.

Yaara

I agree with you that Google+ looks better, and maybe it’s even generally better. I WANT to use Google+, but like I mentioned in the article, I still don’t have many reasons to do that, and so far I don’t see anything that’s going to change that.

It’s not that Google+ is not good, and had it been first on the scene, things would have been different. But as it is now, it’s just a Facebook alternative for lots of people, and as such, I don’t think it has a chance at taking over.

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Bas van der Veeken

“And this very thing will and does stop many people from migrating everything over to Facebook.”
Typo: “Facebook” -> “Google+”

I will help Google+. Hopefully it works, cause FB is not an option.

Yaara

Oops, thanks for that. These two get confusing when writing their names over and over again. :)

Just curious, why is FB not an option?

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Joel Lee

I’ve been with Facebook since it was college-only. As I get older and older, I’m starting to grow tired of the whole social network thing. I gave G+ a shot but it wasn’t enough to reignite my desire to participate.

Personally, I think G+ entered the market too late. It was a nice try, but G+ is going to go the same route as Google Video, which lost to YouTube. Unfortunately, it’s now too late for Google to buy out Facebook like it did with YouTube.

278

You really talking with facts?  Google+ already has  20 Million Daily Unique Visitors against Facebook 179+ in a bare of 6 months.

What is gonna what?

Joel Lee

It’s silly to think that G+ will continue with that sort of growth. Google is good at generating initial interest, but often times it tapers off extremely quickly. Look at Buzz and Wave, or even Google TV.

The only way G+ can beat Facebook is if G+ sucks in the younger crowd. If that happened, then maybe by the next generation G+ could overtake Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook is still drawing in the young kids and G+ isn’t.

What is gonna what?

Dave Parrack

What?

278

You believe Google+. A service which Google is betting all its other branches to for the sake of staying in the Internet for relevancy Game. Be it SPYW aka Social Search based on Google+. Youtube which is yet to become a part of Google+. Android with is as well but in the process. So all Google’s inventory like Reader, News, Music, what not. Will suffer the same destination as Buzz/Wave? Both services that didn’t get a push all that, even less THIS kind of all out push Google+ is getting.

Are you living under a rock or what? Because I may take this as a joke if you do.

The day Google complete its Google+ project to that final platform full of features like. The day I see Facebook sweating for its money.

Receiving notification on Youtube for one will be a nice shot I would love to see Facebook handles.

Dave Parrack

But just because Google+ may do well thanks to the number of services being sucked under its influence does not mean Facebook is going to die.

I don’t think either I or Joel are living under a rock.

Yaara

It’s true that Google are forcing us to use Google+ all over the place. But that might be part of the problem at the end. I DON’T want to be bothered with my social network no matter where I am. I find that annoying.

Many people dislike Facebook because of privacy concerns. If Google continues on this path, they will start losing the blind approval and trust they’re getting these days, which will only help Facebook.

Yaara

Google+ did do a fantastic job with its initial growth, and that’s a lot to do with Google’s invite policy and with providing a slick and slightly different Facebook alternative.

I, too, don’t think it’s logical to think this growth will continue at the same rate. Even companies that use Google+ don’t reach the same amount of people with their pages as they do on Facebook, and I don’t think this is going to change in the near future.

Yaara

I find that I feel the same way. It’s not that I’m that enthusiastic about Facebook, I’m not, but if anything, I will use it because that’s where my friends are and that’s where real people actually see my posts.

Google+ is simply empty for me, for the reasons I mentioned, and more. It’s a good service, but I just can’t find a good reason to use it.

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Federico Martinez

I think this article is not being objective, before Facebook was myspace and hi5, FB improved social experience. For me G + works much better. is like everything else, 10-15 years ago we used web browser IE or Netscape, and today is old news, the same thing will happen with social networks (FB, G +, Twitter, Linkedin, etc) something else is going to appear fresh and new…. 

Yaara

Of course this article is not objective, it is purely my opinion and does not claim to be anything else.

Like I said, I do believe Google+ is a good service, I just don’t see it taking over Facebook.

And I almost included the MySpace argument in the article, because many people mention that as proof that social networks die, but I don’t think MySpace and Facebook are of the same caliber.

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Infernodot

When I read Google+ will not overtake Facebook, what I’m thinking is
RandomSocialNetwork will not overtake Facebook.

RandomSocialNetwork: digg, reddit, 4chan, twitter, and so on…

People have different tecno-eco-system … So, it’s not about overtake, it’s about making it works. In some way I believe that google+ will make it work, as long as they don’t fail with the api.

Yaara

I’m sure they will make it work. They’re already doing that. I hope they make it work even better, and that I can actually find a reason to use it more.

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Synfidie

When Google plus first came out I was all excited thinking “great! I can have a new online account that won’t be bogged down with my facebook games” but then…they didn’t let everyone in and the initial furor of excitement people felt and were talking about went away. When they finally allowed everyone in, i went into it and not one of my email contacts was on there and I didn’t have the patience to look around and see if there was another way of finding people. I then kept thinking to myself, dear god this is ugly. I clicked around for a tiny bit and realized I wasn’t interested anymore. 
 I haven’t heard anyone talk on facebook about Google+ since it’s beta. This is what is the reality. Google can force us to “register” on their site, but that doesn’t mean it is really successful. 

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guest920

Was having (sorta) this conversation with a co-worker.  We both think G+ is a better overall platform/experience…but undeniably facebook has the user count and acceptance in our culture as a whole.  While G+ grew quickly from the start, it’s not likely to sustain that pace.  What we both thought however that COULD happen…is the kids of today (and we were talking about youngins) not wanting to be on facebook with their parents.  Will G+ fill that “new” thing?  who knows…but everything that’s ever been popular on the internet seems to run it’s course and people move on.  Should be fun to see what’s next!  and “ever” (from the title of this) is a LONG time…and even LONGER in internet land.

Yaara

Well, “ever”, in this case, is an internet sort of ever. Of course I don’t think Facebook or Google+ will last forever. No social network will. :)

As for kids moving on to Google+, that might be its savior, although Facebook’s interface is much more suitable to young kids somehow. Google+ is more appealing to power users and opinion leaders, which are already there, but are really not enough to hold the place together.

I guess we will just wait and see. I, for one, am very curious to see how all of this plays out. 

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Scott

I don’t see Google beating FB by any means , EVER , just from what you stated about having to create a google account an re-invite friends and family i know i will never make a google+ account! Not saying google+ won’t beat out face book, but like i said i just don’t see it, an thats just my opinion!

Yaara

Thanks Scott!

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Marta Daniels

I agree whole-heartedly with this post.  I keep seeing all this stuff about the need to get on Google + for authors, but I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm to mess with it! Keeping up with Twitter and Facebook is enough. Great post! Thanks and God bless!

Yaara

Thanks Marta! I already have a Google+ account, and I keep trying to be more active on that platform, but so far there’s really just nothing there to justify it. 

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Michael

Maybe it will be the same fight that we have between Apples and PC’s.  It’s down to a matter of taste, they might co-exist

Cell Travis

Yes, there’s always room for that middle ground. Google is good at search; FB is good at social networking. Let’s keep it at that.

Yaara

Of course they can co-exist, and they already do. And I’m all for free choice and options. This was just an opinion about why I don’t think Google, with all its might, will manage to overtake Facebook.

It’s very much like Mac vs. Windows. :)

Reply

jack

Dont forget g+ does not allow anyone under 18.

Yaara

I think they already do, don’t they? I know they didn’t at first.

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Imota Dinaroid

Facebook cheerleaders are busy again: their “darling” is really threatened this time. Now, they are obliged to defend it at any cost. Feeling pressure, aren’t you? My predictions? Facebook is already defeated. Right now! Reason? Google+ is not just a social platform, it is Google itself with its widespread tentacles that nobody can match on this planet.  In short, we are witnessing now the beginning of the end for Facebook. Yes, in a short run (in a couple of more years)  it will still dominated the social media, but its future is bleak. In ten years, both Tweeter and Facebook will be bought by Google. I know it is not fair, but that’s life: a bigger fish eat the smaller one. Cruel, isnt’ it   it?

Michael

And then when you’re not looking there’s something bigger on the horizon.  Dinosaurs eventually die!

Yaara

Just for the record, I don’t like Facebook. I barely use it and I think Google+ looks better and I actually generally like it better.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean Facebook is going to disappear. This is just my opinion. Google is huge, true, and they might shove Google+ into every nook and cranny, but that’s just because they know that otherwise most people won’t even bother using it because most people already use Facebook, whether it’s better or not.

We’ll just have to wait and see what actually happens I suppose!

Reply

Snprabhu

Great Post! Great Discussions

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Danny Stieben

I also see Facebook staying around for a long time. Google+ is great, but Facebook is simply too big. So big that it has it’s own “gravity” that you can’t get away from.

Another (probably more personal) rant is that G+ doesn’t allow anyone under 18. Facebook let people 13+ get in. A DECENT part of Facebook’s rise to popularity was from youth, including under 18.

Yaara

Oh wow, I thought Google+ already started letting in people under 18. This is why I only mentioned this briefly. So they still don’t allow it? That’s big. People under 18 are a huge part of social networks. As long as they are not allowed in Google+, Facebook is sure to stay around.

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Chris Hoffman

Four words: Search Plus Your World

Google’s going to use the massive power of their search engine, Android, web apps and every other product they have to push Google+.

People thought MySpace was unbeatable, too.

I’m not sure who’s going to “win”, but Google is serious this time. This isn’t Buzz or Wave.

Yaara

I agree it’s not like Buzz or Wave. Not even close. I don’t like the way Google is pushing Google+ into everything, I find it annoying, like I mentioned in the article.

Will it make more people actually use the service? I’m sure it will, but I don’t if it will be enough.

Chris Hoffman

The sheer SEO value is going to drive corporations to use it. And they’ll encourage their users to use it and circle them so they can rank better in search.

From a user perspective, your article is spot on. It would apply to any other social network — but Google is basically forcing Google+ to matter. Search plus your world is really throwing down the gauntlet; they’re all in.

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Laurent Ruyssers

The main thing for me is that both have a different audience. I love G+ for several reasons while I was never appealed by Facebook. I have an account on it but actually rarely watch it while I am more active on G+. 

I just wonder why there is a need to make the comparison. There is no “better than” or “worse than” needed in my eyes. They are just different and fulfill the needs of different people. 

The day we all want exactly the same will be a sad day, because nothing new could grow out of that. 

Yaara

As I mention in the article itself, this wasn’t about which service is better. In fact, I think Google+ might be the better of the two.

I disagree that they are for different audiences and exist for different purposes. I don’t feel that Google+ currently offers anything I don’t already get from Facebook and Twitter, and I don’t even use these two that much.

I have no desire to see a world with no variety or competition. I do believe, though, that Google itself is pushing Google+ as a Facebook competitor. Maybe that’s one of their mistakes.

Reply

Yaara

I absolutely agree with most of what you wrote. I know it’s very hard to find numbers for Facebook that have nothing to do with Facebook, and it’s also very hard to find stats for Google+ that don’t come from Google+.

I think it’s a fact that Facebook is still growing, no matter what the actual numbers are. Of course, Google+ is also growing.

I love it that we have lots of choices. I simply wanted to express my opinion on this matter, but that does not mean I wish there was no choice for consumers. There are so many good things out there that would not exist if it were not for healthy competition.

Reply

Expresbro

I always think it’s funny when people get all clannish about their preferred media. Be it Facebook or Google or ot Twitter or Path….I, like the author, primarily use Facebook because that is where most of my friends and associates are.

Before Facebook, I used a lot of message boards and chat programs like MSN or ICQ and also MySpace. I don;t remember being overwhelmed by Facebook when I first joined, but th:-)en slowly but surely it began to replace all of the other media I used to the point that now most starnds of my life are covered on my Facebook profile.

I think the author of this piece was quite clear in stating that she didn;t believe Google+ would overtake FB in a few years. It’s fairly obvious that is true.

If and when, if ever, most of my friends and contacts are using Google + rather than Facebook, then I’d have no hesitation in switching. But that seems a long way off yet. Having a techy following is all very well, but for it to suceed it needs to have the regular non techy joe and josephine soaps using it. That is where the numbers are now.

That’s my tuppence worth anyway :-)

Yaara

I totally agree, Google+ needs more real people, and these are exactly the people who don’t see any reason using it as well as Facebook.

It doesn’t even matter who is better than whom.

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Martijn

I totally agree that I want to go to a social website when I feel social. This for me is a dealbreaker. I’ll stick to facebook, as does everybody I know.

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peter101

I am a member of many social networks like diigo, wakoopa, reddit and twitter where i met a lot of people base on our common interest but most(or better ALL) of this people are not even in my country so they will never be part of my real life
now facebok is the only network i learn news about people i personally know and care about their daily life and almost all my friends are there
none of my friends are using google+ so i can only find out news about people i don’t know so its completely different from facebook but
how is that different from twitter ?, google+ may have the same look as facebook but basically it has the same function as twitter and this would be an interesting
comparison
although i don’t see it win there either

Yaara

I agree, and also wrote this exact thing in the article. But Google+ is not pitching itself as a Twitter alternative, and can’t really be one since the whole idea of it is totally different.

I feel that Google itself is pushing Google+ to be a Facebook alternative, and I don’t think it can truly be that. Hence the comparison to Facebook.

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gpvprasad

I stopped facebook almost because I am finding very less time in watching information…………
I use google+ because all your posts only appear to me there:)

Yaara

Good reason to use Google+! :)

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Josh Beswick

There is no competition between Google+ and Facebook in my opinion. 

Recently I found out about an artist who was hosting ART LECTURES weekly through G+ Hangouts.  Each hangout session can be recorded and uploaded to youtube.  Viewers can join in on webcam conversations and ask questions or start a discussion.  I saw the celebrity felicia day having a BOOK CLUB discussion in a hangout session (It wasn’t my thing.. but its damn good use of the feature!) You can even collaborate on documents and watch youtube videos together in a G+ hangout session..You can’t do that with Facebook.  

I swear, each and every update to G+ makes Facebook look more and more like a waste of time.  Facebook has become the place where I dump my unwanted uninteresting thoughts like “I hate winter” and “Just ate some nachos”.  Meanwhile Google+ is the place I dump all the things that really matter to me.. like my blogposts, my artwork, my animations, and my videos.  ((My galleries, by the way, have far more pictures in them than my facebook galleries do because even before G+ I uploaded to picasa to link them to people.))

It takes time to let all these people drizzle out of their little closed box (Facebook) and get away from farmville.. but I believe it will happen, slowly.. just like myspace.

And this isn’t like when Facebook and Myspace were competing.  There was literally no reason to switch to Facebook other than all of my friends were there. But Google+ is genuinely bringing features to the table that interest me as an artist and a nerd.

Yaara

First of all, thanks for the elaborated comment, it was very interesting to read.

I agree that with every update Google+ gets better and better. I also agree that there are features in Google+ Facebook simply doesn’t have, and when they try to implement, they’re inferior. Like I said in the article, I actually think Google+ is better, and I really want to use it, but the simple truth is that I barely have any people in my circles, and not a lot of people have me, and so far I just can’t find anything to do there.

I don’t actually use Facebook all that much either, but when I want to share something, I share it there, because that’s where I have the most people. Simple as that.

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Rahul

Obviously Facebook rocks no doubt about it.

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Sonic

just wait for it facebook is dying a slowly and noone will expect it until its too late

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