As of last week, Google+ is one year old. The social network has not exactly gotten the popularity it had set out to attain, and many are surprised that it has even lasted this long.
Despite its detractors, however, some think that Google+ remains a relevant website for several reasons. For one, Google+ brings together the various services that the Mountain View company offers such as Youtube and Google Search. To put it another way, Google does not even call Google+ a social network, but an upgraded Google. Of course, this might not be what it tried to do initially, but it seems that this will be Google’s position regarding Google+ from now on.
When compared to Facebook, the audience of Google+ is much smaller. While Facebook boasts of 900 million users worldwide, Google+ only has 150 million who are active monthly. Moreover, Facebook users interact much more frequently on the website. That said, Google+ does have some loyal fans who like the smaller, international community that it offers, which will work to its advantage.
Another edge that Google+ has over Facebook is its mobile app. Despite efforts by Facebook to improve its mobile app, Google+ still takes the cake in the mobile sphere.
Lastly, Google+ has Hangouts, its video chatting service that lets groups engage in conversation. Hangouts lets users record chatting sessions. For more popular users, it enables an audience to ask live questions. Obama, for instance, had a Hangout chat earlier this 2012.
During the first birthday of Google+, Google announced several new features that will possibly bring in more people. Among these is an Events feature which works with Google Calendar. Events permits people to create an event, publish photos from the event, and engage in Hangouts sessions. According to Google, this mimics real-life situations better than the usual event services currently offered. Another feature is called Live Slideshow, which helps attendees publish photos in a slideshow immediately after they are captured.
More and more, it seems that Google+ is differentiating itself from Facebook instead of competing head-to-head with it. Perhaps, creating its own niche is exactly what Google+ needs to stay afloat.