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Is Google’s perseverance to try and create a ‘Facebook Killer’ a smart and achievable move or should they just give up and stop wasting their money building concepts that are destined to fail?

Well I guess that comes down to the kind of person you are. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that they were kicked to the ground more times than they can remember before they succeeded. I believe Google have that entrepreneurial spirit. They know it can be done they are just trying to figure out how. That’s why I think they have made a smart move this time round with their new ‘project’ Google+ by making it invite only. This way the true influencers can check it out first, give their opinion and like any work in progress Google can then use that Feedback to improve it before the masses arrive.

For those who don’t know what Google+ is, here is a video by Google giving a brief overview

So what are my thoughts on Google+? Well to be honest I haven’t decided one way or the other yet. The potential is certainly there but in its current (rumoured) state it’s not yet a winning concept for me and it will depend on what Google does with it from here that will decide that. Let’s look at the main features of Google+:

Circles

Circles seem to be much like Facebook and Twitter lists albeit easier to assign due to a drag and drop feature. This will allow people to share certain things with certain groups, a great idea but I already assign certain lists on Facebook who cannot see my pictures etc. The potentially great thing about this is the ability to separate personal and professional content. For example I use Facebook for two very different reasons.  I use it to keep in touch with family and friends back home in Scotland but also as a professional networking tool. If Google+ can allow me to ensure my professional contacts don’t have to see my university assignment rants and my friends don’t need to listen to me talking about some business thing they have no interest in then great!

Photo editor

A great idea allowing users to not only upload photos but also edit them. It has great potential but I just hope it adds a little fun to it – I am thinking funny hats, moustaches and funky frames ala Instagram style.

Hangouts

Interesting concept of adding up to 10 friends (according to Mashable) in a video chat. Although this sounds really great – I don’t know when I would ever need to use it.  I would maybe do one-on-one with friends and family back home but I can already do that with Skype. What I think it has the potential to act as, is a small video conferencing facility for professionals who cannot meet face to face. That’s my hope for it anyway! My only hesitation is that according to Mashable the screen will change depending on who is talking. Clearly they have not met my friends and I would like to see how it keeps up with the speed my friends talk at, not to mention when 5 people are talking at once.

Sparks

In its simplest form is basically social search. The ability to find information based on previous actions etc. Its success will hang in the balance and depend on the uptake of the +1 feature Google has already implemented.

Conclusion

Well as I said it has a lot of potential. For me I see it fitting in that gap between Facebook and LinkedIn which brings together personal interests with professional networks. What it does need to do however is differentiate itself. People are not going to switch from Facebook unless they see the benefit and with so much of people’s lives on Facebook it may take quite a bit of persuasion to convince people the move is worth it.

Personally I would like to see it succeed as Facebook’s increasing privacy issues and current spam problems have really halted a lot of my use. What’s more, with personal branding becoming a bigger consideration for many people this will give users the ability to start again and well…. try and do it right! Another aspect I will be watching closely is how brands start using this platform – being founded on circles may make it much harder for a brand to get in and have the ability to communicate with customers – I wonder if, upon it’s officially launch, they will add profiles that are specifically developed for brands? Only time will tell …

What are your initial opinions for Google+?