Sunday, July 10, 2011

Google+: Limited Invites - Actual constraints or A Marketing Gimmick?

Google+: Google's yet another attempt to socialize the users. Launched ever so silently in end of June, 2011... Google+ has caught the attention of both - techies as well as non-techies alike.

Google has previously used the limited invites strategy for its mail service to a great effect but will it work this time? All of us can speculate and only time shall provide the answer!

Here is my first take on Google+
+ves

  1. The BUZZ - Creating excitement and curiosity among people is important for the success of a product or service. It provides with the initial user base who are generally the early adapters and more often than not are also the trend setters. Thereafter, it is the usefulness of the offering which becomes important. Google has managed to create a BUZZ around its latest offering. Despite a silent launch, well placed demo, technology blogs and limited invites has done the trick to generate curiosity among the huge base social networkers (facebookers, orkuters, and others). But how long will it limit users in its trial launch?
  2. (Facebook & Twitter)+ - Google+ combines the major feature of Twitter (aka following people) and Facebook (broadcast updates) in one single platform which is a natural extension but how crucial it is for the users remains to be seen. It is worth mentioning that both the features i.e. following people and broadcasting updates were initially launched with not so successful Google Buzz. However, I did like the feature of being able to control who can follow you.
  3. The Google Power - "Powered by Google" in my opinion counts as a major factor. The simplicity of GMail was something that inspired me to move on it and still use it as my primary id and so was the case with Orkut. This was precisely the reason for not liking Facebook initially, but it has come a long way since then in terms of its user interface and offering, it has moved from just being a platform to pass time on the crazy apps and quizzes to a platform for sharing almost everything. The huge GMail userbase provides with captive clients.

-ves

  1. Limited Invites may hurt - YES! I mentioned limited invites as a good strategy in creating the BUZZ but here we are talking about a social network and people form the essence of it. The larger the user base bigger the network, so why the limited invites?
  2. Now your friends can further share your picasa albums - Till now I used picasa for sharing pics with selected people but Google+ force you to link your picasa albums with your profile enabling your connections to further share it... some users may not like it!
  3. Circle, Spark, Huddles, Hangouts, etc. Are they really very different from existing options? Can the existing players not provide such features? Doesn't feel so! Facebook has already started video chat and you can group your friends under various lists, create groups and do a group chat, plan a group event, etc. etc.
  4. Effect on your GMail account - How does creating and customizing your Google+ profile affects your GMail contacts remains to be seen. When my HTC Hero running on Android synced all my GMail contacts and mixed with my existing phone contacts from my previous Nokia phones, I wasn't particularly happy and I'm still using phone with hidden GMail contacts as it makes difficult to search the contacts with phone numbers among a list of email contacts.

Having said all this, I should also state that I haven't used Google+ till now and like many others waiting eagerly to try it out. Will post another update from a user perspective after playing around with it.
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