Google+ grew to over 90 million members in short order, and for the most part, it did it without the benefit of teenagers flocking from Facebook (not counting the ones who slipped through the cracks and were previously able to open an account). A change in policy now allows teens age 13 and over to join Google's social networking service, but will they find it fun enough to stick around?
Not everyone is keen on using their real name for a Google+ account. It's a deal killer for some, and even though Google's social playground is now home to more than 90 million users, it's willing to compromise with users by adding support for alternate names, so you can be called The Round Mound of Rebound instead of Charles Barkley, if that's what you really want.
In some ways Google isn't unlike the average American. Google's younger days are behind it, the sultan of search loves to be social, and it's put on a few pounds over the years. And like Joe and Sally who joined a gym in January as part of a New Year's resolution to shed some weight, Google goes into the new year looking to slim down by getting rid of love handles like Urchin and Social Graph API.
Google+ and Facebook. One is the largest social network in the universe with more than 800 million members, and the other is, well, Google+. If Google's social playground is ever going to truly challenge Mark Zuckerberg's social amusement park, it's going to have to keep its momentum going. So far it's been doing that. Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page announced yesterday evening that Google+ now has more than 90 million users worldwide, over double what he announced just three months ago.
Two days ago, Google started mixing Google+ connections with general search results. Pics, photos, shared links, posts, authored articles – if someone in your Circles shared something related to what you’re looking for, it shows up in your search results. Google calls it “Search Plus Your World;” I call it annoying. When the first page of results is dominated by “Personal Results,” that’s a problem. And to make it worse, Google doesn’t exactly make it easy to turn the “feature” off for good.
Google a week ago began rolling out a social search update called "Search, "Plus Your World," which meshes photos, comments, and posts on your Google+ account with your search results. This has drawn the ire of a privacy advocate called EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) concerned over privacy and antitrust issues that could arise from the new search feature.
Occupy Wall Street’s protestors have moved on from Oakland and NYC parks; they’ve packed up their beef and taken it to the ‘Net, too. Just one day after Google+ launched its new “Page” functionality for businesses, the Bank of America found its virtual territory occupied by a false profile designed to make them look very, very bad to anybody who happened upon the Page.
If you're a fan of Gordon Mah Ung's rants of the week, you'll love reading what Google engineer Steve Yegge had to say about working at Amazon and what he perceives as Google's mishandling of its Google+ platform. His brutally honest and what some call an epic rant was posted to Google+ and mistakenly marked as Public, when it was actually intended for internal eyes only. Oopsy-daisy.
The U.K.'s Daily Mail stirred up a spit storm when it ran a story titled "Traffic Plunges for Google+ as 60 Percent of Users Log Off." That's actually true, 60 percent of active users did ditch Google's social network after it was opened to the public, but only after traffic spiked by a whopping 1,200 percent. Take away that 60 percent and what you're left with is nearly a five-fold increase in traffic (480 percent), which tells quite a different story than the headline.
Sure, you use Facebook, but do you own Facebook? Can you make it do anything you want it to do? And, yes, you tweet. Many tech enthusiasts do. But can you slap Twitter around like a ragdoll and bend it to your will? And what about LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+? We all use these social media tools to some degree or another—sometimes daily, sometimes hourly, and (for the truly desperate) sometimes by the minute. But like most Interweb travelers, even hardcore hardware enthusiasts suffer knowledge deficits in the social media department. We can recite CPU thermal specs as quickly as Star Trek dialogue, but we’re surprisingly lackadaisical in terms of social media mastery.
Enough is enough. It’s time to dig into the nooks, crannies, and feature-packed nether regions of today’s five hottest social media services. We’ll also reminisce over failed services in a virtual Social Media Walk of Shame, as well as dig deep into the hardware of the largest social media site online.
Social media? Yep, we dig it. Who says tech geeks can’t be fun and friendly?