Unless you’ve been stuck in a cave over the last 48-72hrs you’ll know that Google has launched its Google+ project. This is widely being seen as the real Facebook killer with its Circles and Huddles functionality. If you’ve not seen or heard much about it, here is a short video explaining the project.
In ‘response’, Facebook has, only a few short hours ago, announced their joint partnership with Skype which has added video capabilities to its service. Click here to see a video of it.
I’ve not actually tried either service but my first impressions are that Circles is a HUGE plus to the whole social interactions. It is how people compartmentalise their friends and connections and now Google is offering that ability online. I also think the Huddles functionality seems a lot better than Facebook’s.
Saying that though, I’m not actually sure that this will be the thing that sees the demise of Facebook. With c. 600m there is bound to be some attrition but I think Facebook has more fundamental issues to take care of, namely:
- Privacy – how secure is your data? Why can’t you delete your account rather than de-activate it?
- Boredom – people have been living with it for 4-5 yrs and the world has moved on, much like it did for MySpace
- Displeasure - Facebook has done things slightly underhand, they’ve changed layouts, added new functionality which has changed the site from its original inception (selling rather than interacting)
The one thing it has going for it is that people are used to that ‘space’ for communicating, more so than they are for Google. Also, more people have FB accounts than Gmail accounts, so they will need to create new profiles, learn new interfaces and ways of communicating.
I will be joining G+. I would love to relinquish Facebook (with or without the advent of G+) but unfortunately the rest of my friends are Facebookers and use it to organise get togethers so, for my sins, I am still there. But my activity is virtually zero.
I don’t think it will be the death of Facebook. They will be impacted quite badly, but they will be around (and making lots of money) for years to come. However, they need to truly understand how people want to interact with others and their part in that process.