I remember a tweet sometime back from a friend that said, Google+ is like that fancy treadmill you bought, but never used.
Google+ was launched on June 28th, 2011, and was welcomed by a lot of criticism. Google employees promote it every chance they get. Others? Not so much.
Google+ is still criticized a lot. People use Facebook 5X more time as that of Google+. Google has pulled the plug on all failures so far. Google Wave, Orkut but not this one. Why?
Well, contrary to what many of us think, Google+ is not a failure.
Google had a fundamental problem in 2009. They had 40+ different products that didn’t really talk to each other. They were either built by various teams internally or through acquisitions. Compare that with Apple where everything supposedly “just worked” and Facebook was building everything on top of social and was being called the next Google. Google even lost some of it’s top engineers to Facebook back then.
Google+ is a single identity system and a connecting thread which stitches all Google Services to make a seamless experience.
There are hundreds of use cases like this but here’s a significant point. Photos and videos.
When you take a picture with your phone, it can automatically upload to G+ where it’s automatically enhanced for quality. You can then send it with a click via Gmail or attach it to a document via Google Drive or publish it with a click via Youtube or access it by simply logging into Chrome from any computer because it’s synced to the cloud. You can then share it to anyone who has upgraded to a G+ account (more than 550 million at last count) or edit it manually using the Photo’s app. You can do this from Chrome, ChromeOS, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, Smartphones, PC’s and tablets.
In June 2011 this process could easily take around 30 minutes and the use of multiple apps, extensions, services and log-ins and you even had to be on the right device to make it happen. Now it takes 30 seconds and a few clicks.
So Google+ basically puts all of Google’s services into perspective, at least it’s users into one big bucket. And the significance? Well, Google can boast about it’s user base. Google+ used the Gmail user base to grow finally managed to stitch together everything along the way and made one giant user base.
There are currently 540 million monthly active users across Google Properties and 300 Million active in the Google + Stream. (Source) Now, that does mean something.
Let’s do a comparison.
Facebook now has over 1.15 billion users.
Twitter now has over 550 million registered users and 215 million monthly active users.
Google+ now has over 1 billion enabled accounts and 359 million active monthly users.
YouTube has over one billion monthly active users.
So, essentially, Google+ is Google’s lifeline today. Look at it’s impact on the Google stock.
Ever since it’s launch, Google has improved it’s performance steadily. Thanks to Google+ (other factors might be influential as well, but we don’t have all the data).
What do you think? Google+ is here to stay or not?