Google made some pretty big announcements during its I/O Conference, which included a bevy of new apps, a free trial for its music service Google Play, a Pay-Pal-like service, and slick new look for its social network site, Google +. In fact, the number of improvements announced at I/O add up to 41. While many of these new products are part and parcel of what makes Google products so attractive, the one that will likely be most overlooked will probably be the most important in terms of determining the tech giant's future. Google + is its attempt to subvert the social network giant Facebook by offering a better, or more Google, way to connect with people. The real question is whether the Google + updates make it better than Facebook, and will anyone care?
Reviews are pretty positive. Some say the improvements add depth to the site, while others praise its ability to help find local businesses. While all this adds up to some pretty positive press, the late entry still lags behind Mark Zuckerberg's giant Facebook, which dominates the social media market with over one billion users. New trends indicate that market share might be slipping, as Facebook users (Millennials in particular) are starting to use social networks oriented to a single function, like Twitter's near-constant status updates.
A newcomer to the social networking world will have to provide some pretty serious benefits to entice folks away from a service the numbers say they're pretty happy with. The problem is that while Google + is connected to the very wide variety of Google's services, it doesn't do much to bring people in. It does, however, do plenty to convince current users to stay. That might be its strong point in the end. Google gives people enough reasons to start using its other features and services. It is the biggest search engine in the world, after all. While the new users continue registering Google accounts and begin exploring everything a single user name and password can do, they start finding reasons to switch over. The plan may very well be to reel people in with bait that is not related to social networking, and then use Google + to convince them being caught is not so bad after all. Time will tell is this in fact Google's strategy, and if it will work. Until then, current users have plenty to be happy about.