In a press conference this morning Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, was asked what he thought of the possibly revolutionary launching of Google+. Zuckerberg admitted that he had used it very little but that he believed it was part of the social networking evolution. However, Google+ is also his competition, it is offering Circles, which basically allows you to label your friends and groups and choose who sees what and which group you publish content to. It also offers Hangouts, which is the video group chat, Sparks, a feed that revolves around you and only videos, articles, and offers you would be interested in, and Huddle which allows you to text as a group. Since the two networks are so similar, but one comes with more features (so far), people will eventually make a choice. There will be resistance at first just as there was when Facebook blew Myspace out of the water, but as of right now, Google+ sounds like the next step and Facebook may not have the technology to catch up.
Google+ began a beta release for the network last month, giving only a select few people access – this gave off the impression that the network was elite, leaving those who weren’t allowed dying to see what all the fuss was about. Another blow to Facebook’s ego was the group chat offered on Google+ that clearly overshadowed Facebook’s partnership with Skype, who was recently bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion before they were aware of Google’s innovative software.
The reason Google+ may not take over Facebook is because despite Google’s Vice President, Vic Gundotra’s belief that they are meeting the needs of the people and their desire to connect, they are really adding a bunch of bells and whistles to a system that was already meeting this need. Also many users may not be ready for the commitment that goes along with another social network.
If Zuckerberg does come out with something innovative or finds a way to at least make group chat available before Google+ is fully launched he may have a shot. However, Zuckerberg recently said they are not focusing on the number of users so much anymore but the features, this was a little unsettling. The fact that Facebook lost around 6 million users in May, may have provoked this comment, and since Google+ is ahead in the feature department it will make a come back even more difficult. The worst thing he could do is reformat the entire network like Myspace did when they saw that Facebook was taking them over – they ended up going beyond their site’s capacity and that helped in everyone’s decision to go full Facebook. Whether or not Facebook survives the war or falls as the social media empire, social networking is evolving right before our eyes and it should be a very interesting change.