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article imageOp-Ed: Is Google + a ghost town?

By Yukio Strachan     Mar 19, 2012 in Technology
A "virtual ghost town" ? That's what The Wall Street Journal called Google + after the newspaper found that the average user spends a few minutes on the site each month when compared with Facebook.
Digital Spy reports that Larry Page, the co-founder and chief executive of Google, claimed recently that Google+ is becoming a force in social networking with 90m registered users.
“Not only is Google Plus not a ghost town,” Vic Gundotra, Google’s vice president for engineering, said in an interview at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, “we have never seen anything grow this fast. Ever,” the New York Times reported.
But the Wall Street Journal says Google + may indeed have 90 million users worldwide, since the service just went live last June, but new data from research firm comScore Inc. shows that Google+ users are signing up—but then not doing much there.
The Journal goes on to say that visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between last September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook, which has 845m members worldwide, according to comScore, which didn't have data on mobile usage.
I have to admit. I'm one of those people who signed up for Google + but never invested time in learning about circles–– and how to add people in them. I'm still trying to get the hang of Twitter.
But most of all, I don't know why I should use Google instead of Facebook. That is to say, Google hasn't done a good job in differentiating themselves in terms of what needs they fill. And judging by the quote mentioned at the beginning of this article, by Vic Gundotra, it seems as though Google doesn't see a problem. And that, in itself, is a problem.
John Baldoni, who wrote "Why Google Plus is a failure" put it this way: "Executives at Google, among the very brightest in the cyber-sphere, may be guilty of something that many managers fall prey to periodically. Hubris!"
But more than arrogance, Google is a victim of myopia; it is choosing to view the company through its executive suite in Mountain View, Calif., rather than through the thousands of pairs of eyes of men and women who are paid to observe, analyze and comment on its corporate performance. Ignoring them is hubristic certainly, but it is short sighted because Google executives are acting as if people actually believe them.
If this is the case, Google won't have to worry about being a ghost town because they won't have a town to haunt.
What do you think? What am I missing out on? Please tell us how you use it --or not -- in the comment section below.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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