Google has been toiling away with implementing their own brand of social interactivity with all of their services for the last 3 to 5 years now, easy. However, it just doesn’t seem that Google has been going in the direction many critics want them to. Everyone is expecting the big fight between the Social Heavyweight, Facebook, and The Mobile and Search King, Google, to face off in the social media circles just as Facebook and MySpace did back around 2007/2008. However, as I have hit on in the previous article, Google has been creating their social empire right under our noses. Is that Google’s ultimate game? And if so, how is it going to compete with Facebook?
Facebook has become such a powerhouse of a social empire thanks to its simplicity. You have everything there at your disposal, on one web site. In many cases, everything you need is displayed on ONE page! Facebook has wooed many users into joining because it gives them the ability to share information, photos and videos with friends and family in one single location. They don’t have to email a link to everyone, and then make sure the email address they have is even up to date and current. They can have up to date information on contact information available, without having to go through their phone and text everyone a new phone number. You can even play games with everyone, without having to have them play at the same exact time from anywhere.
Even MySpace wasn’t able to provide a level of interaction between users. That was a social network of profiles. It was more reminiscent of Yahoo Profiles, than a social network. When they implemented games, and such, it started to give the birth of what we have today in the form of Facebook. Even the current MySpace can’t compete with what Facebook has created today.
So what about Google’s social networking? Well the big issue with it is that it is disconnected. Every aspect of Google’s services are intertwined with one another, but the problem is that the interconnectivity of the services is not immediately apparent. In order to become fully “socially connected” within the Google sociosphere, you have to go into your Google Account information and activate the services.
For the average user, this is not at all convenient, or worth the time. That is why they go to Facebook. They set it, and then leave it. They don’t have to crawl through various areas of the site to do anything they don’t want to. However, these are generally the same individuals that post on your wall about how Facebook is showing their information to the world, and invading their privacy (which can be adjusted easily by accessing the “Account” drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the page). Google expects its users to be a bit more “hands on” with going the extra mile to become “connected and social” within the Google sociosphere. Sure, you can set up various Google services, and then just leave them. If you want the most out of Google, you need to explore it a bit more.
With Facebook’s approach being of that of simplicity, and Google’s being that of expected levels of intellect, we can guess who will remain the dominant social power house. If Google really wants to make their product more social, they should set up an easily accessible and useful “social setup” page for its users. Something that incorporates Google Contacts, Gmail, Calendar, Picasa, YouTube, +1, Buzz and Android into a single “settings page” that users can access and set up.
Perhaps I should be calling this article “Does Google expect us to be smart, but does Facebook make us dumb?”