I have been playing with Google Plus for about a week and read many comments and discussions about it. I also posted some comments myself. I believe there are a few reasons why Google+ may fail, and I am really concerned about privacy:
1- Google Plus’ beta testing is lasting for too long. Invites do not really work and you also have to consider the frustration of those who get an email from the system – after their friends shared something- and still cannot get in. It’s been open since a week already for beta. It’s Google.. isn’t a week too long?
2- It does look like too much like Facebook, yet not behaving like that (it’s more like a mix between Facebook and Twitter), and it’s far more complicated than Facebook.
3- No iPhone app available yet. The choice of launching such a global service before an iPhone app was ready has not been a good choice. You cannot ignore 40M users (this is the number of daily users of the Facebook for iPhone app, according to Facebook’s data). We are in the mobile era. A good thing would have been maybe to open G+ in preview to Android users only.
5- Google’s apps are not integrated with G+, while they are almost all integrated into the black navigation bar – too bad you get G+ notifications, but you don’t get those from Gmail or other apps. So what’s the point of having them all? Just for their use maybe?
6- It took over 5 years for Facebook to become what it is today. We go there because all our friends are there. We are used to it. Like it or not, I think it’s absolutely useful and cool. It cannot take just a few weeks or months for G+ to beat it.
7- Facebook is what it is because users wanted it. G+ is pushing its own Facebook because they want it.
8- G+ didn’t tell us why we should move to G+. We know why of course, but I mean they did not provide us with a good reason for it.
9- It looks like it’s been created for users that are younger than those who spend the majority of time on Facebook (over 35). Younger generations do not spend a lot of money on websites and not a lot of time on brands pages, interacting with them, unless they are related to music and fun. And there’s no music app on Google.
10- And, more important: It will not take long to realize how seriously we should worry about our privacy. Consider how bad is having Google gathering too much information about us: they already know our search habits and what we are looking for (they are the most used search engine), they know our browsing habits (don’t forget they have Google Analytics for a large majority of WW websites!) and they know our company’s website analytics and our banners performance (who clicks on our banners), and they host our office documents, they host our Gmail emails (those we use to register to all newsletters and websites, hence they know what happens to open rate and click through), and so on. They just missed a piece: how we get there, who are we influenced by and who we can influence. Now, with Circles, they will know this. How much will this mean in terms of advertising and marketing dollars? In the meantime, Facebook is protecting our privacy against Google’s attacks.