It is quite obvious that I am a big fan of Google+ and have very high expectations for its future. This is evident whether you’ve read any of my Google+ tutorials, my article on what makes Google+ different, or my recent article on how Google+ is changing the internet as we know it.
Based on the reaction and responses I’ve received to many of my articles, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main concerns regarding Google+’s success is: “Why Aren’t My Friends Joining?”
I am going to answer that question and provide some assurance that your friends will join, or at least a lot of them will- even if it takes some time.
If you’re looking for more details on the features and benefits of Google Plus, you should probably check out one of the linked articles above as this article will mainly cover adoption issues.
Google+ Adoption Statistics
On July 14, 2011 Larry Page (Google co-founder) announced that Google+ had surpassed the 10 million user mark. That was 16 days after Google+ was released as an invite only service.
Although the growth has slowed slightly, there is currently no marketing efforts being put forth to increase user adoption. The service is also still in an “invite only” state so the average person cannot register without first knowing somebody in Google+.
For the sake of this article, lets just forget about those two major details and pretend that Google+ is open to the public and is being marketed through all possible mediums. Lets also say that, modestly, Google+ will continue to grow at a rate of 5 million users every 2 weeks- remember it hit the 10 million user mark in about 2 weeks.
Based on those assumptions, Google+ will reach the 100 million user mark in about 10 months. It took Facebook almost three years to reach that milestone. I understand that the methods in which the two services were released are very different but regardless, there is no reason to be concerned about the growth rate of Google+.
Why All of Your Friends Haven’t Joined Google+ – But Will Soon
If Google+ is so popular already and is growing very quickly, why haven’t your friends joined yet? There are a few reasons for this.
One reason is because of users’ current comfort zone. Google+ is more complex than Facebook, Twitter and and LinkedIn. Google+’s complexity is part of the reason that the service is so great. At first however, it can be a little intimidating.
The people that have already joined Google+ are early adopters that are willing to take the time to try out something new – even if it takes some time to get used to. Everyone else will join too, but not until they hear positive feedback from the early adopters. I have heard very little negative feedback in respect to Google+ at this point.
If you really want to convert users from one system to another, demonstrating why the move is necessary will really help. Most social media services have started out as a luxury and then have evolved into a necessity based on societal norms. If you’re not on Facebook nowadays, many people wonder what exactly you’re trying to hide.
Since everyone is on Facebook these days, nobody needs to transfer to Google+ to keep in touch with their friends. Does Google+ offer anything that will make people feel like they need to start using it? I think so.
The sheer speed at which information can be obtained on Google+ will slowly begin to leave non-Google+ users in the dark. The ability to hold multiple conversations at once, both public and private will give Google+ users a “social advantage” in comparison to non-users and eventually people will feel that, in order to keep up with the Jones’, they need to create a Google+ account.
The evolution of “social search” will also spur users to start using Google+. There is no doubt that Google Search is the most powerful search engine on the web. There is also no doubt that search results are beginning to use social data heavily. If you really want to get the best search results in 2-5 years, you’re going to need an active Google+ account so Google can customize your results specifically for you!
The Kids Aren’t Doing It yet
Lets face it, Facebook didn’t get big because of early adopting adults, the middled aged workforce or experienced retirees. Facebook blew up because of college students and teenagers.
Even Google search was adopted by younger adults and teenagers before the middle aged and older crowd finally saw its worth. How long did it take for you to convince your mom or dad to start using Google instead of Yahoo?
Question: What was so cool about Facebook when it first started?
Answer: Adults weren’t on it.
Kids and teenagers could chat with their friends without adults seeing the conversations, post comments on their friends walls that they normally wouldn’t express in public, etc.
Of course Facebook opened up the floodgates, parents nagged and nagged until their kids finally accepted their friend requests and then Facebook became not-so-cool anymore- sorry parents, but its true.
Question: How does Google+ solve that problem?
Answer: Privacy, privacy, privacy.
The “circle” concept, coupled with intense privacy features, makes Google+ just as cool as Facebook was, before adults joined.
Question: What makes Google+ even better?
Answer: Adults can join, but kids can still keep their conversations (even group conversations) hidden from their parents.
Google+ offers the best of both worlds for the entire family!
Once kids and teenagers learn about this, they will flock to Google+. Once parents and adults hear about kids migrating to Google+ because they can keep their conversations private, adults will also see the advantage in this. Adults can hold mature conversations with their friends online and keep them obscured from their children- even if they have their children circled in Google+.
Google Isn’t Done Yet Either
Google has a rather unique development process when releasing their products. Although they do conduct some internal testing, Google usually releases a half-baked product- on purpose. They then rely on feedback from early adopters and make a slew of unannounced updates in the first 6 months to a year that a product is released. This allows them to hear exactly what the concerns of their users are and then work to resolve those concerns.
Google+ is anything but half-baked, yet Google is still practicing the same development methods that they’re known for. The Google employees on Google+ have been asking for and analyzing tons of feedback from us early adopters.
Google has let users down before with products such as Google Wave and Google Buzz. I am fully convinced that they are committed to Google+ for the long haul and the system will continue to improve as more users join and send their feedback to Google.
Give Google+ Some Time
As of the posting of this article, Google+ has only been public for a month. Based on a user base of almost 20 million people and the information provided above, the launch has been a big hit. Although their are a lot of adoption concerns regarding Google+, I don’t think there is anything to worry about.
Here is why (summarized from above):
- Google+ is growing faster than any other social media / sharing service ever has.
- Google+ offers features that are unique and will become requirements to stay current in today’s digital society.
- Google search results will incorporate data from Google+.
- Kids / teenagers will discover and love Google+ for its privacy features.
- Google isn’t done yet either- the service will grow and improve tremendously.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or, even better, send me a message on Google+!
Don’t forget to share this post so people join Google+ sooner rather than later!