Verhasselt: Google Plus — helping you with your Facebook addiction since 2011


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Friends – social network

Heath Verhasselt

It was about this time last year when I wrote an article about the possibility of Google making its own social network. Based on the rumors at the time, it was going to be called “GoogleMe,” and its large appeal was it was going to make sorting out your friendships, acquaintances, family, work, etc., as easy as dragging and dropping.

Well only part of that rumor was true, as GoogleMe turned out to be Google+. It also turned out that what we now know as “Circles” was only the beginning of a list of features that the Goog lined up for us.

Now, I’m not going to try to sell you on it, but there were some clever features in Google+ that made Facebook developers look like they had just been sitting around twiddling their thumbs all day. The idea of online hangouts were suddenly revolutionized. You could sit in a group video chat with your friends and talk while you went about your Internet browsing; you could even watch what the other people were watching on YouTube together. Keeping in mind that at the time you had to pay for such services (Skype group video being the closest example) group video chatting in and of itself made Google+ a “good deal.”

Google understood the appeal of mobile smartphones and social networking and did its best to merge the two. Group text messaging came with an app called Huddle, making mass texts a thing of the past. Instant photo and video upload meant you could have your photos uploaded to Google+ right away so it could be shared with everyone online.

So what went wrong? Why doesn’t anyone use it? Why isn’t my stream filled with posts, photos and hangout invites? Google even added games to its platform a few weeks ago and to no avail.

The user base quickly jumped up to 25 million in the first month, and then that’s the last anyone heard about it. Seriously, you’re literally logged into Google+ the second you hit a Google-owned page, which for me is a good majority of the time I’m on the Internet. I have an Android smartphone, so I’m in the minority, I know, but I’m willing to bet that the majority are logged into Google in some form or another when you’re online. So why, then, hasn’t Google+ exploded?

The problem in my opinion is twofold: Not only are there still only a handful of people on Google+, but they just don’t see the point to posting or have abandoned their account entirely.

Why would that be? Even if you have only a few friends on Google+, why wouldn’t you share as you would have on Facebook? It’s because, collectively, we have a Facebook addiction. We love sharing our findings and life events with the largest amount of people possible, and Facebook has that audience lined up for us. Not to mention that most of your Google friends are still on Facebook, too. And let’s face it, we love the attention. And don’t act like you don’t.

Just like me, you love seeing that notification window with the list of people who have liked and commented on your wall posts. So we’re Facebook whores and we can’t get enough of it. What of it? Perhaps in time, we’ll be able to thwart our addiction, or maybe Google has a few more features up its sleeve.

But with the newest addtition being a “featured users” list like Twitter, it might be some time before +1 becomes commonplace. So for now, comment, like and poke away, you addict.