Google Plus: Facebook Killer?

I saw a discussion in a forum last week where someone suggested that Facebook was coming to the end of its run and would diminish in popularity soon. Personally, I think their crystal ball may have been taking a day off when they made that prediction. Facebook has become entrenched in most peoples daily Internet routine as Google has. It is still growing and they expect it will pass 1 billion members this year.

I’ve been checking out Google Plus this week and it has some nice features. From a conceptual point of view it has some similarities to Facebook but at this early stage it is much more focused on sharing website recommendations rather than general socialising. That makes sense, as it adds to the data that Google can use to rank websites. Peoples opinions are generally more accurate than computer algorithms.

I suspect the black hat types will try to game the results and the SEOs and make money fast types will be trying to exploit it, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves and how they combat cheating. I’m sure there are people out there right now writing scripts to automatically create accounts and +1 websites to share between those accounts. ┬áCommon sense suggests to me that Google will be monitoring the results and activity for a while before they integrate it into their web ranking systems.

From our point of view though, it’s important to get in there and start getting to know Google Plus as soon as you can. Like everything, it has a learning curve and there are always advantages to being an early adopter rather than coming in a year or two late and then having to get up to speed. There are already a number of WordPress plugins available that will add the +1 icon to your posts and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a friend who is already using Google Plus to send you an invite. Google Plus is currently in its ‘beta testing’ phase, so you need that invitation from someone who is already using it in order to gain access.

As for whether it’s a Facebook killer – I think not. There’s plenty of room for the many social networking sites that are already online and I don’t think any of the other sites are going to dislodge Facebook from their top position for many years to come.

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