It’s been a few months since Google launched Google+, the search giant’s huge leap into the social networking scene. They’ve tried it before, but we all know how those endeavors worked out: they didn’t. And when Google+ hit the scene, there were obviously some doubters out there, and for good reason. The social networking scene isn’t necessarily like the mobile phone scene. We don’t always need, or want, a brand new thing to take our minds off of our current situation. For many, Facebook does everything they need in a social network, and making room for something like Google+ isn’t necessary.
But obviously Google doesn’t just launch something and forget about it. No, the search giant wants you to know it’s there, and they want you to use it. Actually, perhaps more than anything else, they just want you to try it. This is more than obvious in the way that Google has incorporated Google+ into pretty much every aspect of their platform. It isn’t just a social networking tool, but that’s where it starts and ends. You see Google+ in a lot of different ways every time you surf the Internet, especially with that +1 button. Something as simple as a “thumbs-up,” but remarkably integrated into Google itself.
If you don’t use Google for a lot of different things, like your email, documents, or video watching (YouTube) then you probably don’t notice it all that much. You more than likely use Google search (right?), which means you at least see that little +1 symbol in the search results. That’s the way that Google mas made sure that Google+ stays in your consciousness, even if you don’t use it. It’s a way that Google makes sure that you’re always able to get your fingers involved with Google+, and the easier the better.
But with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, there are folks out there pointing their finger at Google, saying they aren’t just suggesting Google+ to purchasers, but literally forcing it down their throat. They’re doing this because they’re now including Google+ in the sign-in screen with Android 4.0: you sign into your Gmail account, and you’re suddenly prompted to sign in, or sign up for Google+. You can skip this step if you want, but it’s still there enough to the point where people are saying it’s too-in-your-face.
While I think that it isn’t necessarily a priority for Google to throw a Google+ splash page in there out of nowhere, especially after you sign into your Gmail account, but I can understand where they’re coming from. And you don’t have to sign up. You can skip it if you want which I think means, by default, that Google isn’t forcing Google+ down your throat. They aren’t saying, “If you want to use this phone, you’ve got to sign up for our awesomely spectacular social network.” They aren’t saying that at all.
Google has every right to put a Google+ account sign-in link in the settings, of course. Just like you’d find a Twitter, or other email account. Of course Google+ makes sense to be on a Google phone. Especially considering Google is obviously putting plenty of effort into their Plus endeavor. But, when I use Google+ I can’t help but notice that it isn’t being used as I’ve seen people use Facebook. I think, from my personal perspective, that people use Google+ as their more social of the social networking platforms, while Facebook is the more personal. Facebook is for family and personal friends, while Google+ is for the rest.
And while some people may think that that misses the mark in some respects, I think that’s just the point in and of itself. Google+ doesn’t need to fill every niche, not by any means. In fact, if the majority is using Google+ in the more social aspect I pointed at above, then wouldn’t that mean Google+ has indeed made something worthwhile? It would certainly seem to me that Google+ does have a place within the social networking hierarchy, where Facebook and Twitter have ruled supreme for quite some time now.
Do you use Google+? If you do, is it more for the social people in your life, while you use something else like Facebook to keep in touch with family and personal friends? Or have you not found a place for Google+ in your life? Let me know.