Facebook clones another Google+ feature, keeps Google+ from gaining mass adoption
Today Facebook announced new photo features that take away yet another cool thing about Google+. This has got to be frustrating for the Google teams, even as they keep a stiff upper lip in public, right +Vic Gundotra
? (He runs Google+).
So, why do I keep posting on Google+ and not on my blog? Well, I like the competition between Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Facebook, yesterday, turned on a new "interests" feature on my account that totally rocks. Would we have gotten that if Google+ hadn't shown up on the scene? Probably not.
Would Facebook have given us bigger photos if Google+ hadn't existed? Probably not.
But, now that Facebook has shipped these features, what is special about Google+? The search engine and video hangouts and YouTube integration.
The search engine isn't that far ahead of Facebook, though, and is missing HUGE features. For instance, why can't I see every item you've plussed? That's really lame Google and Vic should be ashamed that the search team can't even do that yet.
So, if I were Vic, where would I be going with Google+?
1. Figure out if Google is really going to be an identity play. Today it's not, which is why apps like Highlight are forced to build on top of Facebook. Here's a hint: can you see everything about me on a page on Google+? My family relations? My sexual orientation? Whether I'm married or not, and to whom? My politics? My favorite movies? Books? Music? Sports teams? Whether or not I went running this morning? What my favorite foods are? Etc etc? You can see all that on Facebook and Google has to decide whether it's going to go there, and figure out how it's going to get us there. Not having a write API is a HUGE hole. Being anti OpenGraph-style stuff is a HUGE hole.
2. Figure out if Google+ is REALLY about stitching all of Google's stuff together in a new, collaborative way. Right now it's hard to use Google+ with my coworkers. I'm actually scared of putting something here into public because I missed a setting or two. I'd rather have two separate brands. One for discussing stuff with public and friends, and one for working with coworkers on things like Google's Docs and Spreadsheets. Why is Google letting Yammer and Salesforce Chatter have all the fun at work?
3. Rethink what being social means, especially on Smart Phones. Highlight shows me there's a new way of being social. Plus its mobile app works, is fast, and is simple. Compare that to Google+'s mobile apps that just aren't there.
4. Get over your hatred of iPad. Do a really awesome iPad app that blows away Twitter and Facebook and makes it a joy to use all of Google's things on that. iPad is winning. Android Tablets are not. Get over it. Learn from Bill Gates. In the 1980s Microsoft made the best Macintosh apps. Then, later, when Windows finally got good enough (around 1993) Microsoft cloned the Mac apps and made them work great on Windows. Use iPad as your lab, then move stuff over to Android but MAKE KICK ASS iPAD APPS. Facebook hates Apple. So this is a good way to have a competitive advantage.
5. Fix stupid stuff with Google+. Why does every URL here have a stupid long-ass version and no built in shortener? That makes it hard to tweet and URLs look like crap. This small stuff matters.
5b. Give us custom domain names. Like we used to have on Google Buzz. For instance, mine is https://profiles.google.com/scobleizer
but new users can't get nice URLs like these.
5c. Let us see all the stories we, and other people, have liked. It's really lame that you haven't yet matched features little startups had four years ago.
5d. Let us follow more than 5,000 people. Twitter is kicking your ass in flow because of this. (But then you gotta fix your design limitations with Google Contacts).
5c. Let us have a REAL blogging tool here. You have Blogger. Why isn't it integrated here yet?
5d. Let us have videos and photos in comments. Facebook has them and it's a killer feature.
5e. Let us clean up our social graphs. Show us people who no longer post. Start suggesting ACTIVE users to us (I still am getting suggestions to follow people who've never posted). Make it easier to see people's content, trends, and stats, and delete, people from our social graphs. Right now it takes way too long to clean out Google+, so I just let it rot and new users, who probably could really add something to my life, can't get followed because of the limit of 5,000.
5f. Let me customize my profile page more. I want to use different fonts, background photos, and logos to differentiate me from the other writers here.
Anyway, I'm finding I'm rethinking my social media usage patterns. I'm starting to see that +Fred Wilson
was right. I should have kept my blog as my home (it's at http://scobleizer.com
). I expected Google to innovate a lot faster than it has for publishers. Hey, Vic, it's great you ship lots of small things every week, like it's better to block spammers here than it used to be, but we need some really big breakthrough features to keep people engaged here and we haven't had one of those in a while. When are we going to see something really eye opening?
If not soon Facebook and Twitter are going to continue to own the social space.