Google+: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

google happy sadNews this past week caused a bit of an uproar in the social media world. Vic Gundotra, the only leader of Google+ since its inception announced that he is leaving Google. This set off an avalanche of rumors that Google+ is going away.

A little closer to home, a flurry of “Have we been wasting our time?” comments started flying in the Indies Unlimited circles. As many of you know, I’m a fan of Google+ and have written several posts on how to get involved over the past several months. It would really suck if the time we’ve spent building our platform over there was for nothing.

Should we be worried about Google+ going away? Should we want Google+ to go away?

Let me see if I can help you formulate an opinion, one way or the other.

Several “anonymous” sources have described a move by Google to drop Plus. I always like it when crack journalists use anonymous sources. Or, you can go with the Wall Street Journal’s impression that they are killing off Google+ because Google has moved the employees of Google+ to a building further from the main cluster of buildings at the headquarters. As a side note, the Google+ employees have always been outside the main cluster since its inception.

First off, Google+ is not going anywhere. There is a strong, dedicated group of Google+ users. The numbers don’t rival Facebook, but then again, nothing does. In the aftermath, Google has denied eliminating Google+. In fact, it most likely will be improving Google+.

One of the biggest complaints about Google is that to use its platforms you have to be a part of everything. From commenting on YouTube to Gmail, you had to be a part of Google+. That annoys the hell out of most people. The word on the street is this integration may be going away.

Looking to the future, I believe that Google will pull back the all or nothing mantra and shift to single-purpose apps, similar to what Facebook has been doing. Instagram, WhatsApp are a couple of examples of how Facebook is shifting to single-purpose social apps. This could be a positive move for Google+. We’ve already seen this shift with Google Hangouts and no one declared that Google+ was done.

In the end, no one, including me, knows what is going to happen with Google+. However, when you consider the sheer number of users, personal data, trends, habits and interests that Google+ generates, it would be silly to think they are going to throw it away.

Google+ never intended to compete with Facebook. The media picked up that concept calling it Google’s version of Facebook. While there is a social networking aspect of Google+, it is so much more. It’s a cauldron of search quality that Facebook could never achieve. Facebook makes their money with ads. Google makes their money with search. I doubt they will throw that away.

Finally, think of it this way. If we “wasted our time” on building Google+, think of all the billions of dollars and time Google wasted on building Google+. I don’t think we have anything to worry about and I believe that it will only get better.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

22 thoughts on “Google+: Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

    1. Thanks Yvonne, whatever happens it won’t change what we do … write.

  1. I dropped off google+ because of some problems that I had with google ads. I won’t go into it here except to say that when I tried to talk to a service type person to work through the problem, I was told that I was NOT a customer and that I would have to “suck it up.” At that point I quit using google products as much as I can.

    1. Sorry to hear about your experience, I would probably feel the same way.

  2. Sorry Cyn had a bad experience. So far I have enjoyed Google + but I mostly use it for the discussion groups – never bought an ad. There are so many communities and a lot of good discussions and hang outs. Never boring on Google 🙂

  3. Nice analysis, Jim. I’m part of Google +, but only because I have a gmail account. I don’t use the social media side of things, and dislike having to sign in, find apps, select gmail and only /then/ access my mail. If they do make the apps standalone I’ll be happy.

    Whatever the short term changes, it will be interesting to see what kind of vision a new leader will bring to Google.

  4. Thanks for the update, Jim. It’s a good analyis of what’s going on. Given how hard it is to have reach on Facebook, it’s good to know we shouldn’t give up on Google+ just because of a few anonymously sourced articles.

  5. I’ve never really used Google plus properly or consistently because it just isn’t on my radar. For now, I stick to twitter and facebook. (I do like my gmail account though.)

    Always appreciate your updates and posts, Jim.

  6. Glad to hear the consensus is that G+ is sticking around, Jim. I like it (when I remember to go there). I especially like that I can see everything my friends post; it’s a far cry from trying to outthink the algorithms on Facebook (ahem). The one-sign-in-to-rule-them-all aspect doesn’t bother me, but I guess maybe I’m in the minority.

  7. Thanks Jim. Personally I like Google Plus, and try to ye it a few times a week. I use Gmail and like being able to sign in with that info across Google stuff.

    Only thing I’d heard about but didn’t quite understand, was about Google’s plans to simplify urls. I like to share Google searches and site finds, so as long as there’s a way to do that, I’m Google-happy 😉

    1. Thanks, Felipe. Google+ URL’s were obnoxiously long with no meaning (just a bunch of numbers). Now you can customize your Google+ page URL to something more meaningful that matches what you use in other places like Facebook or your blog/website.

  8. Thanks for the info, Jim. It’s always nice to read solid reports (though hysteria is more fun). I’m kind of a Google agnostic, I guess. I’m apparently a member, since people add me to things, but don’t remember joining and never saw what the fuss was. I kind of get the impression you can’t not join if you do anything else on line… and yeah, I’m among those worried about their ubiquitousness. Get the feeling they might be one hack away from the End Of The World For Everybody?

    1. You might be right, Linton. I figure if that happens, there will be many more people that are screwed more than what anyone can do to me. Oh, and without hysteria, what would anyone talk about?

    1. No problem, JP. Don’t worry, it won’t go anywhere. Let’s hope it will improve.

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