|Google's Plus-One button, available for Google Account users|
|Google Plus (mobile)|
Apparently, they think so. The exclusivity associated with Google Plus may serve to build interest before the public launch, and it would certainly give the search giant plenty of time to test, tweak, and touch up the final product. A few main features stand above anything Facebook offers, however, including:
- Video chat (already integrated into Gmail)
- Circles, which allow you to easily group your friends and share everything you post with the right groups (a top concern for Facebook users, despite a poorly-designed Groups feature)
- Delete permanently...even off of their servers (the biggest scare about Facebook is that you "can't" delete your information)
Of course, the new service is starting with few members, and not many people are going to be willing to jump ship from the networking site they've spent untold hours filling with photos, statuses, and friendships. Besides, Facebook has a head start on integration into other sites: You can sign into CNN with your Facebook profile to leave comments, or click "Like" buttons virtually everywhere on the web. Google's competing "+1" button, which is supposed to let you know when friends "plus-one" sites in your search results, may improve the search engine, but will struggle to outdo "Like," at least initially.
Let's not forget, Google is playing a lot of games right now...it's going to be hard to stay ahead in all of them. After all, Google Buzz was something of a complete failure. And right now, Google competes in the following markets, and more:
- Search Engine: Google
- More than half of all searches worldwide take place on Google, although the exact percent is frequently disputed (and changing); this site is currently the #2 most-visited site in the U.S.
- Browser: Chrome
- Their browser was reaching 10% of the market share as of February
- Operating System: Chromium
- Samsung began shipping "Chromebooks" earlier this month
- Mobile Operating System: Android
- Android's share of the market spiked this year, reaching over 50%
- Email: Gmail
- The second most popular email client after Yahoo!, at least by some accounts
- Blogging: Blogger
- Purchased by Google in 2003
- Navigation: Google Maps / Google Earth
- Video: YouTube
When one company owns the Google search engine, the YouTube video empire, and the Android mobile software suite, you know it's pretty powerful. Granted, Google isn't pumping out their own hardware (e.g., cell phones, laptops, televisions) - yet - but on the internet-based software end of things, they're dominating. Check out their new image-recognition features in Google Images, or the speech-recognition they're attempting in Google Voice Search, and you'll see that they're still staying ahead of the curve.
|Google Voice Search|
Besides, from an environmentally-friendly point of view, they're doing way better than Facebook already. After spending $168 billion on a new solar field in the Mojave Desert and another $100 million on a wind farm, Google proposes to help the U.S. off fossil fuels take the U.S. off fossil fuels by 2030. Already, their servers are powered with more renewable resources than Facebook ever dreamed of. So until Zuckerberg figures out how to unfriend coal, maybe Google's on to something.
|Check out the movement through Greenpeace|
So who knows? Maybe they can steal back the #1 site slot from Facebook. But if their original competition was Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL, they're doing a pretty good job, for a garage-born start-up from Menlo Park.