News and speculation about Google+ is flowing faster than the Boulder creek during this monsoon season. We’re not even 3 full weeks into the release, you still have to receive an invite to get in, and Google+ users are already expected to hit 10 million by tonight and 20 million by the weekend.
Some people are wondering about privacy. Spammers are asking people to click on links in the comments of popular posts. Ford built a Google+ business page before Google released their own versions. Early adopters are prematurely announcing the demise of Twitter and Facebook. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I gave a presentation to a class of executive MBA students last Saturday who hadn’t even heard of it yet.
As someone who thought Google Wave would have a major impact, before watching it crash - along with no one really using Google Buzz, I’m hesitant but overly optimistic that Google got it right this time. The fact that millions of people are using it daily already, when Google Wave never got much traction, proves that we’re finding value and ease of use for the first time in a Google product aimed at social networking.
Only time will tell how successful Google Plus will be, but the main factor will be how much time people choose to spend on it versus other social networks. If you have to choose between reading news feeds from friends and posting on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ it could feel like too much time to manage. In addition to this, there’s also the time you spend reading blogs and consuming other online media. Of the people I’ve surveyed, Google+ is cutting mostly into Facebook time, but as quickly as Google+ hits 20 million or 100 million users, our habits and the amount of time we spend on each social network will certainly change.
If a shiny new technology object sees a great launch, the ensuing challenge is sustaining interest. That probably won’t happen with Google+. The main reason that they are the only company that has a chance of unseating Facebook’s social networking dominance is that Google has the resources, credibility and user base to make a major impact swiftly.
Google+ is already tied into Gmail, the 3rd largest webmail provider. Google Apps is used by over 3 million businesses with over 30 million employees. Google Search enjoys over 34,000 searches per second. With that many people spending time on Google products each day, mixed in with Google+ being a social network people like, and we may see Google take back the coveted mantle of where web users spend most of their time online.
This article was originally published in The Huffington Post.