Google+ and its struggle across social platforms

Google+ was originally created with the intention of being the “new Facebook”, allowing the user to create a social media profile and platform to stay connected. However, Google+ never reached the popularity Facebook had, and today is one of the least used social media networks.

Google+ was first launched in 2011, and allowed users to create profiles to share updates from photos to relationship statuses. Instead of “friends”, contacts are put into “circles” and allow group messaging and upload photos only a certain circle can see. Google expected Google+ to rival the popularity of Facebook, and for its user count to skyrocket within the year. However, while the amount of users grew, the amount of time spent on the site was incremental compared to Facebook. By the end of the year Google+ had reached over 90 million users, but the amount of time spent on the site was just 3.3 minutes. In comparison, Facebook has 1.64 billion users, and the average time spent on Facebook is 7.5 hours.

When logging into Google+, it gives you access to all of your Google accounts such as Gmail and Google Drive. This explains why the user count bigger than the site’s success. However, a small amount of this demographic uses Google+ for the social platform it was designed to achieve.

There are varying opinions on why Google+ failed. One of the main reasons is the confidence of the Google team on its success. Because they saw user count continue to increase, they presented that as a display of success, despite the lack of time these users spent on the site. Google+ also didn’t provide the social media experience other sites such as Facebook provided. Google+ was less user friendly, and made users work harder to create their profiles (such as who to add to their circles) rather than having it be a simple five step process.

While Google+ succeeded in uniting all Google products and apps under one roof, it failed in the aspect of being a social media platform. Today, Google+ is constant at 100 million users, with the average time spent on the site still around 3 minutes. Google has shifted its focus away from the social media aspect and is focusing on creating a user friendly site that will easily connect all Google platforms both by mobile and by computer. While the dream of being the second Facebook is now a distant memory for Google+, its uses in connection can still prove to bring is popularity to the site.

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