As the EU cookie law comes into full effect this week there’s been a lot of hoo-haa about businesses tracking what you are doing online and it seems that barely a week goes by with out Facebook making some changes that has people up in arms about their privacy.
But that’s not what this blog is about. There’s been plenty written on those topics. I’m going to tell you a tale about another way you can be telling the world more than you thought…
And when I say tale, I mean a real life example.
The other day I missed a call on my phone.
On listening to the voice mail, I quickly realised that the message wasn’t for me. But from that one phone call I now know more about the caller than they realise.
So what do I know and how did I find this out (NB I did all this “research” sat on the sofa on my blackberry)
I could probably find out more if I tried…but all this from a phone message.
Makes you think doesn’t it!
Well that’s the impression some media commentators have given with the announcement of Google+
But really? Can you see that happening? Can you see Facebook giving up its dominant position without a fight?
I don’t think so!
Let’s look at the facts.
Facebook is so widely known and used that the word Facebook is now a verb. When people talk about looking things up on the web, they say “I’ll Google it” and when people want to pass information, put photos online they say “I’ll Facebook it”
Facebook has lots of users. Make that LOTS – I think the capitals are required! Oodles and oodles of users. Are they all going to to jump ship and join Google+? No. And for the hard of reading, let’s get the capitals out again – NO.
Why? Simply because they have too much invested in Facebook. And by invested, I don’t mean money I mean emotional investment. They have their photo there, they play games there (well done Zynga) they are involved in all sorts of communities there.
Moving house is said to be one of the top 10 stressful things in life – moving social networks has to in that list too. No one is going to do it unless they really have to. Facebook keeps doing things that annoys its users – mostly to do with privacy settings, but there hasn’t been a mass exodus to any of the other social networks (what do you mean there aren’t any – just look at this list of networks)
That’s not to say that social networks are immortal. MySpace is in decline, Bebo, well need I say more and UK focused site Friends Reunited pretty much committed Hari Kari when it started charging for a product with inferior features in comparison with Facebook.
Yet Facebook for all its flaws – yep back to its somewhat cavalier attitude to users privacy settings – remains buoyant.
Let’s not forget Google has tried the social networking thing before with Google Buzz. Tried and failed. Will Google+ be any better? I say it’s too early to tell.
Google is being smarter with its roll out. It’s making it seem exclusive with a limited number of invites – you only have to look at Twitter feeds to see people asking for Google+ invites, desperate to get on to this new platform. Yes, Google is definitely trying harder this time, but unless it has a killer app, Facebook is fine.
And Facebook isn’t just going to roll over and die. Within a few days of Google+ going live (well semi-live, remember not everyone can get on it as it’s still in “beta” – yep kiddies you’ll just have to patient if you want this great new product from the Google stable ) ….where was I, oh yes, within a few days of Google+ going live Facebook announced it had teamed up with Skype to “make it easier to stay in touch”
And Facebook’s not going to make it easy for you to take all your contacts to Google+ - Let’s face it the Facebook team aren’t stupid!
So will Google+ kill Facebook? I’m voting no on that one. Facebook would have to do something truly horrendous for that to happen. We’re talking strangling kittens and puppy territory (remember, they’ve annoyed us with privacy but we’ve hung around!)
Will Google+ survive ? The jury’s still out on that one. It will attract users, it’s Google after all.
Will it keep them, will it engage them and excite them. Who knows.
Ignore it at your peril but don’t lose any sleep if you don’t have an invite yet.
PS the video below is what springs to mind when people talk about the Facebook/Google+ War……really guys you need to keep it in perspective!