Google Inc. launched Google+ on June 28, 2011 in an invite-only “Beta testing” phase . Users were then allowed to invite their friends and to create their accounts. The following day, this policy was dropped due to an ‘insane demand for accounts’ (Shaer, Matthew). Google announced on July 14th, 2011 that Google Plus had reached ten million users just two weeks after its limited trial phase . After four weeks, it had reached 25 million. Google’s biggest market was the US, followed then by India (Google+ Draws). Larry Page then declared that the service had reached 40 million users in October 2011. Males have been the majority of early adopters of Google+ (71.24%). The dominant age range is between 25 and 34. A survey estimates 13% of US adults have joined Google Plus and is projected to have 22% of US adults in a year.
Five Reasons Why Google+ Failed
Amazingly Clumsy: Google+’s new feature, Circles, is like Facebook’s groups. However, managing circles is a daunting task because it gets really complicated to manage after adding hundreds of people. It simply is too much work to click on full profiles just to find out who people are. In addition, the best circle management features only work on some parts of the website, not all of it. Notifications are also chaotic and very messy lacking any form of organisation or hierarchy.
People Are Simply Not Joining: Because Facebook has already solved people’s networking problems, Google+ is suddenly not attractive anymore and most social networkers do not want to go through the hassle of joining Google+. The latter has to be a better form of Facebook by a large margin in order to attract these people! This does not mean that Google+ is horrible; however, but because there is a platform that already exists and indeed works effectively, then G+ is just not attractive. So who uses Google+? It is the abusers of social networking websites; and those people are a minority, thus presenting a smaller market.
Profiles Are Almost Useless: Google doesn’t want to make Google+ like Facebook which is a smart idea so as not to be seen as the imitator; but in doing so, Google+ has failed in providing an alternative to Facebook’s most important feature, the Wall. Profiles on Google+ lack this feature, so aside from looking at a few of that person’s posts, these profiles are useless. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there is absolutely no way to contact someone from their profile page.
‘Circles’ Gets it Backwards: As a feature, Circles is not that bad despite being complicated. However, it’s got it backwards because it gives you control over what content you share and who you want to share it with rather than giving you the control over what content you receive and consume. In other words, Circles is the “privacy settings” on Facebook.
Too Much Traffic: Updates and posts just never stop and Circles is not enough to control the influx of overwhelming useless information. Bottom line, even though you want to know what people are up to, there’s so much outflow and you end up missing out on as much as you are getting in.
Background Into Google: the 5 P’s
Product: The website makes its income through advertisements. A consumer types words related to a subject of interest and Google’s search engine will display natural results. Google also has a relationship with a number of libraries around the world where one of its objectives would be to digitise books and store them in its database in order to include them in its search results; which means that all the books are for everybody.
Price: Through a special advertising program called AdWords, Google makes money. This program is a keyword-based advertisement that is bought by companies. By bidding for lucrative keywords, prices are raised and Google makes money. This system helps Google acquire more marketing intelligence and this is what launched the company on an endeavor to buy out Facebook, and when it failed, it launched Google+.
Place: Located at Mountain View in California, the site looks very much like a university campus with gyms and cafes. Google is also known for its relaxed environment where employees are exposed to an easy going carefree work place which, according to Google’s management, yields much better results.
Promotions: The Company promotes itself through flyers within business magazines and the money acquired from this type of promotion is used to incentivise advertisers to use AdWords more. Furthermore, Google has public relations function that it uses to proactively manage media. Moreover, another example of creative/loony advertising: the company will sponsor a 30 million dollar competition to land an unmanned lunar rover on the moon where the winner must land their rover and send back a video back to Earth.
People: 20,000 people were employed by Google in 2008 and many of the original employees of the company came from Stanford and other elite US universities. Google attracts highly skilled and bright individuals who like to work in Google’s innovative business culture. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of 20% of their time to pursue their own endeavors, which equates to one day every week working on their personal project.
Conclusion and Personal Insight
The marketing concept has been present for a century almost and it had never needed to actually change. The recipe is simple, where there’s a need; a product is created to fulfill that need. In Google’s case, the potential of social networking sites in the market has been identified. Google has also tried to set up its own social network website before Google Plus which failed to live up to the expectations; Google took a significant blow with the prolific growth of consumer adoption rate of Facebook. Google+ is yet another try by Google to convince people to use yet another social networking website. Since Google+ is failing in its objective to lead away social networking users from Facebook, it had attempted to buy out the social networking giant but failed. Google’s attempt to take a piece of the social networking virtual world is due to its reliance on advertisements, and data based market research that drives this business model. It insists on getting a larger share of the advertisements revenues and a successful social networking website appears to be the way to go.