Google+ is better than Facebook in pretty much every single conceivable way. It hit big with the tech/geek crowd first. We LOVED it, and when it came out of beta, we brought our friends over.
Here’s the thing: a social network is only as good as the people on it. People are used to Facebook. It’s what they know, and it’s been dominant for a long time now. Longer than Myspace was. They were invested in Facebook. Getting them to change completely was tough and nearly impossible at the time. This is my very long explanation/metaphor:
Think of social network sites like a bar. Everyone hangs out at the same bar. It’s not the greatest bar, but it’s where you’ve been hanging out for years. It’s comfortable. You know everyone there, you’re familiar with it, and everyone’s familiar with you. You’ve got your favorite seat/table. It’s that place that when people say “Let’s go to the bar”, you don’t have to ask which bar…it’s just The Bar.
So you hear about this other place, The New Bar. You decide to check it out, and it’s freakin’ AWESOME. They have clean, comfortable seats, a shiny new floor, awesome beers on tap, great lighting; the works. It’s the bar you’ve always wanted, better than The Old Bar in every way. You’re so excited to tell your friends about The New Bar, and you’re 100% certain that they’re going to love it like you do, and they’ll all want to switch bars. So you go running to your friends to tell them all about it. And a few of your friends agree to go with you to check it out, and sure enough they love it. They show up a few times and think it’s great and tell their friends.
But after a while, they start to go back to The Old Bar. They don’t want to switch bars. They know The Bar. People know them there. The bartender might be a jerk, but he’s THEIR jerk. The New Bar’s bartender is a nice guy with a flashy smile, but he doesn’t make their drinks the way they are used to. And while a lot of people came to The New Bar, not everyone did. And they know that at The Old Bar, they’re going to see all of their friends and know everyone. It may not be nearly as good as The New Bar, but it’s comfortable and change is hard. After a while, The New Bar loses its customers and starts making changes, desperate to gain a new clientele, but really just end up shooting themselves in the foot. In the meantime, The Old Bar makes a few rules changes that the customers grumble and bitch about, but it’s not enough to make them change.
The thing is, Myspace drove people out. Facebook didn’t win out because it was a better service; it won because Myspace kept changing and changing, trying to meet everyone’s needs until it met no one’s needs. People flocked to Facebook because it sucked less, not because it was better. No matter how much better Google+ was, Facebook wasn’t BAD enough to make people change their comfortable ways. In desperation, Google+ made more and more changes, and now it’s an ugly mess that most people really have no desire to use. Funny thing is, I think Facebook has made enough changes and forced so many security holes and advertisements, that I think if G+ had been released in its original iteration NOW…it might stand a chance. However, Facebook was at its peak when G+ tried to fight it. They got one major boost when Facebook introduced a new security breach that made people panic, but it didn’t last.
It’s a shame. I really was one of Google+’s biggest fans. I absolutely loved it.