Google+, the social media product of the search behemoth Google, has made several changes recently in an effort to court new users and to continue developing the product as a key social tool. Some of the most recent developments include the interface overhaul, which has received a lot of criticism for the large amounts of white space left on the screen. There has been speculation that Google could potentially announce a product that will end up filling that space on users’ screens. Other changes include additions to the navigation bars and the ability to drag and drop links to other areas of the platform.
Since being introduced to the social world, Google+ has attempted to make itself a premier destination for connecting with other online users and sharing information. Although the platform initially created lots of buzz, users have been slow to accept Google+ as an alternative to other networks like Facebook. This can be attributed to several different factors, including how large the Facebook user base is presently. This size means that many users may choose to stick with Facebook simply because most of their friends and acquaintances are on the other network.
Regardless, it would appear that Google+ is slowly beginning to pick up steam. The new interface of Google+ has left many in the social world talking, bringing new traffic to the site who are interested in seeing what all of the fuss is about. The new additions are meant to make the site more user intuitive, improving the overall experience of those who use Google+. Google+ is also benefiting from several new partnerships, with organizations such as Flipboard. High profile hangout events with prominent organizations such as TIME Magazine have further helped spur some interest in the fledging social network.
In spite of these developments, Google+ is still dealing with some growing pains. Launched a year ago this summer, recent studies suggest that users are relying upon the service less and less to connect with others and share their personal opinions. On the whole, Google+ posts from individual users are down approximately 74% over the course of the year, which does not look good for the future of Google+. This is in stark contrast to networks like Twitter, which continually show increasing user interaction, rather than decreasing numbers.
There still remains hope that Google+ could ultimately end up on top in the social media battle, so long as they begin to make subtle changes in how the social product works. For example, Google owns a plethora of different tools that many users rely upon daily for productivity and connectivity purposes. YouTube, Google Docs, and Gmail are just some of the many examples. Google already merged social and search with Search Plus Your World. It may be befitting to Google to begin to allow Google+ integration to occur with these products, meaning those who already rely on these services will be able to use Google+ in a more intuitive manner.
In order for Google+ to win away some of the users who are constantly relying on Facebook to provide the social connection they crave, it will be imperative for Google to begin demonstrating strengths within its system that Facebook does not possess. Ultimately, social attention is often fickle, with users quickly migrating to other platforms and leaving once popular meccas such as MySpace in the dust. Whether Google+ will become the next hit social media destination or instead will disappear into oblivion remains to be seen as Google continues the social network’s development.
Frederick is a blogger, tech geek and a member of mac-how community.