“Google+ is a Facebook rival and one of the company’s most important recent initiatives as it tries to snag more online advertising dollars.”
— Efrati A. (2013) There’s No Avoiding Google+
It’s incredible how much experts, writing on the Wall Street Journals are missing the point of Google+: one thing is Google+ as a consumer marketing initiative (how it’s communicated), another thing is Google+ as Google’s strategy (what it really is).
As a consumer, it’s obvious why G+ is communicated, sold and shared that way: a social network website, like Facebook. But as an expert, it should be clear how that’s just marketing and the underlying strategy is totally different. If you read the very first interviews when G+ launched, it was strictly tied to a total “re-thinking” of Google by Page to create a new Google, more social, integrated. To quote properly:
“Page said, Google+ is now what connects all of Google’s products. He also stressed that there are two aspects to Google+: the social spine (which, as Google had already announced earlier this week, currently has about 170 million users) and the social destination site.”
— Larry Page (2012) Google+ Is “Social Spine”
This message, stated clearly in April but even before, should be something that no expert should ignore. Because social as a “thing” by itself was something tied to its own hype cycle, in the future we’ll have naturally social features without this much emphasis on “social networks”.
The social hype cycle is descending.
Social isn’t anymore a thing. It’s a feature.
That’s the point.