Was Google+ a surprise, or a service everyone was looking forward to?
When Google+ was announced, I wasn't really surprised (obviously, I am sure this applies to majority of the people out there). Despite the fact that services like Google Wave and Google buzz, didn't really make it to the top of the social lists, we all were, in one way or the other, waiting for Google to launch their social network. I saw Google's first social attempt almost a decade ago when Orkut was launched. It didn't initially make it big in the US, but it was huge for the international populations (including India) and believe it or not, I still have more friends on Orkut than on Facebook. As far as I can remember, a Google employee created Orkut and it was later acquired by Google. It had no major bells and whistles, but it sure enough was a connecting point for people online. Sharing photographs, videos and links besides being able to create groups were incorporated in it. A lot of staffing firms started using Orkut to hire professionals, and that site just took off. I used to think whether Google would enhance Orkut and re-launch or just come out with something new. But with the speedy launches of other technologies , I knew what to expect. Anyhow, so now Google+ is here and even though it is cool, I think it still has a few things to do to make all the Facebook users comfortable using +. For example, on Facebook you could simply visit a friend's profile, and post a message that can encourage comments, tagging, and more interactions. In Google+ you can surely do a lot on your friend's post, but you can't directly communicate with them on the platform. So Google+ needs a wall, and some other features, which will definitely be launched before we know. There are thousands of discussions going around wondering how would Facebook be affected by Google+. I can surely share my opinion here but I really don't think there is a comparison between the two. I understand that Facebook is a social network with a HUGE HUGE amount of users using it, but it is just a fraction as compared to how many people use a Google service. Facebook is an extension on the internet where you go and socialize and connect with users. But Google services including Google Search, Youtube, Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Picasa, Google Maps, etc are a part of your daily routine. You don't have to go out of your way to use a Google service. You are generally connected to one of their services most of the time when you are online. So by adding a social component to the already existent Google world around you, it will grow on you in the same way where you'll socialize and connect with people without having to go out of your way. So we're really comparing one website (FB) with a LOT of users and content, plus a big amount of advertisers on one end, and a Giant in the internet industry that owns the biggest search engine, video site (Youtube), Photo site (Picasa), Email Service (Gmail), Google Docs, Google Maps, etc along with it's own web browser (Google Chrome), an operating system (Google Chrome OS), and a leading mobile operating system (Android), along with a HUGE list of other services like Adwords, Adsense, Google Affiliate Program, Google Earth, Latitude, Google Voice, etc etc etc and what not. Is it really a fair comparison? I honestly don't think so, but at the same time feel that being able to stand in front of a giant, for being a successful product, deserves a salute. Before Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were huge (they still are huge), but as far as I can tell, more than 90% of people I know personally, have - and - use a gmail account. Google has inculcated it's users with favoritism for Google products. Current Google+ features like Circles, Huddle, and Hangouts are already more advanced than what other social networks have. And the integration of Google + and +1 with Gmail, Mobile (Androud / iPhone), and other Google services plus search engine rankings is already visible and well accepted. I use Android platform on my mobile and am connected to Google 24/7. My personal email, and work email are both Gmail driven. So I could share a thought, a news, or a notification from within my inbox, without the need to go to Google+. This is HUGE. I am well connected on Facebook, but I am not too active, because when I work, I just work and don't waste my time on anything that could be distracting. But with Google+, I could easily publish updates without those concerns, since it is so well integrated. No extra effort is required. And interestingly enough, it will be targeted to people I want to share that information with (thanks to Circles). So the question is not whether Google will take over Facebook users or not, but more that what does Google have up their sleeves for this product. Google is a very innovative company with lots of talent and brain. So if I give them a 5 year slot to dominate the social industry, and eliminate the need for anyone to really go out of their way to other sites to socialize, what can we expect them to accomplish. As a developer, I think about what the technology would look like in the next 5-10 years. Specially work related stuff to make sure that all the time that I am investing into working today, doesn't go waste tomorrow. Or even if things can't be predicted, whatever I am doing today should be able to easily migrate into the newer technologies. With that said, I'll leave you on this note. Feel free to visit and checkout Google+ at http://plus.google.com and feel free to add me to one of your circles :) (search for Raakesh Blokhra or visit :https://plus.google.com/111851550437748902216/posts)