The first thought I had while reading this article was that Techcrunch is again edging on journalistic sensationalism. (Or was that Business Insider?)
My second thought was that this story is vaguely reminiscent of the rise and fall of Google Wave, one of Google’s first foray into the world of social in 2009. Like Google+, Wave had a great marketing campaign leading up to it. I loved all the functionalities for group conversations and multimedia sharing that Wave provided. The demise of Google Wave was unfortunately in its exclusivity; there were simply not enough of my friends on Wave to keep it interesting. Its isolation from the rest of Google’s apps also made it difficult to access as I hated having to log into a different website to check for updates.
It’s now much easier to get a Google Plus invite, but there still aren’t enough of my friends on it. I follow about 200 accounts on Twitter and have friended nearly 1200 people on Facebook, but I only have 70 people in my circles on Google+.
Maybe it’s the overwhelming amount of white (in contrast to Twitter), or the lack of features (in contrast to Facebook)… or maybe I’m just slow on the uptake, but I find the Google+ interface to be slightly alien to use. Also, isn’t the vertical and linear way of presenting the newsfeed getting a little old?
Most importantly, Google+ lacks the “stickiness” factor that is so crucial for something to catch on and spread like wildfire. There is very little that keeps me coming back to the product. The stark interface may be a throwback to Facebook’s early days, but Google+ doesn’t provide the same trance-like experience in which the user can be immersed for hours.
Some say that the demise of Google Wave was merely because the product itself was not yet ready for launch before Google released it. While Google+ is still progressing cautiously with its “beta” status, it would wise to speed up the process so to hold onto its users.