Type “Google+ is” into Google’s own search bar, and your top results include dead, dying and confusing.
The lack of enthusiasm surrounding G+ has been the problem with Google’s social network for most of its short life. While previous requirements actively forced users to set up a Google+ account in order to enjoy Google’s other products or services, the search giant has had trouble getting users to move beyond account set-up — to actually engage on the do-it-all platform.
So Why Are We Here?
We like to think of Google as a child prodigy: It does some things extremely well, but appears clueless when it comes to social skills. Rather than focus on one aspect of social media that it could potentially excel at, Google tried to be all things to all people. Along with its universal account requirements, it made many users feel as if Google was invasive. No thanks, Big Brother.
Recently, Google announced two changes: Breaking Plus into different entities, and no longer requiring users to have a Google+ account in order to take advantage of other Google products.
While many are predicting (and perhaps hoping) this is a foreshadowing of the death of Google+, columnist Mark Traphagen reads the tarot cards differently for the socially awkward network. In an article for MarketingLand.com, Traphagen predicts that Google is setting up for a revitalized Plus, with a sharper focus on bringing together people with similar interests, or interest graphs.
Even Traphagen admits that, if true, the revamped focus for Google’s social network already has a successful competitor in Pinterest. That said, he ignores the fact that the other “unique” offering of Google+ — the ability to introduce strangers with similar interests — has also already been covered by another competitor, MeetUp.
Google+ — For when you want to be social, but not that social.