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A simple, short question about Google Plus

Yesterday, as I walked back from lunch with Bob, we were discussing the thorny topic of Google+, and although we both agreed that Google+ was well designed, nice, probably better than facebook, and so on, there was one question that we couldn't answer:

Why would your mom join Google+?

Most people don't care about the privacy hoo-hahs, the Farmville scamming, and all those other problems we like to talk about on tech sites. 99% of people don't even know that there is a problem to talk about. The other 1% sound noisy because 1% of hundreds of millions of people is still millions of people, but 99% don't care.

So why would those 99% join Google+, when it's not really all that fundamentally different from Facebook and they're already signed up to and using Facebook?

Because if they stay on Facebook, continue stalking their friends there, posting their pictures there, playing their games there, spending their time and clicking ads there, Google+ will eventually stagnate and start shrinking.

Twitter managed to create an alternative social network because it did something fundamentally different. It didn't attack Facebook head-on like Google+ is doing.

If Facebook is the place where you go to stalk old and new friends, look at their pictures, keep up to date on what they do...

If Twitter is the place where you go to hang out with the twitterati, where you connect with the community and have a chance at getting a reply from a star...

Then what is Google+?


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Toxic investment
Customer churn and engagement
Picking technologies on the right side of history