For several months now, even prior to the official introduction of Google+, there has been buzz about whether or not Google+ will replace Facebook. Google+ does seem to offer similar features as Facebook, many with a marked improvement in ease of use and privacy protection. Despite all this in favor of Google+, I cannot see the 800 million Facebook users suddenly switching over to Google+.
For that matter, I do not see even a gradual shift of the majority over to Google+. Facebook is just far too dominate right now. Active users check their Facebook Newsfeed every day, often several times a day. They connect to it through mobile apps or even just text message if they have yet to acquire a smartphone. Facebook has successfully injected itself so deeply into the average user’s everyday life that getting them to switch to another social networking site would take a life-changing epiphany.
Part of the problem for Google+ is the ignorance of users. Although there have been plenty of articles posted online about the pros for moving to Google+, I believe very few Facebook users have actually seen, let alone read, one of those articles thoroughly. Google+ would need to rely on “the grapevine” in order to enlighten the average user to the reasons why Google+ should be their social site over Facebook. For this to happen, at least one user needs to have read the articles and agreed with them. This user then posts such information to Facebook, along with their favorable opinion of these reasons to switch. If the user has enough followers or friends who in turn agree, or at least just share the post, it can begin a chain of reactions to create a long enough grapevine to benefit Google+.
I belong to several different circles of social networking including Family, Teens (because of my kids), Writers, Crafters and IT professionals. To date, I have only seen the IT professionals and a handful of Writers who focus on the technology genre actually mention Google+ and/or the reasons why it is better than Facebook. What this tells me is that the big grapevine that Google+ needs to take root in Facebook has not grown anywhere near enough yet to make a difference in swaying users to their side.
The other hurdle Google+ has to overcome is the sheer number of active users Facebook has. A large majority of these active users are not the type that will jump from one networking site to another depending on the features. Many choose a site and settle in for the long haul. People have a tendency to resist change and that includes their social networking site. Take a look at what happened when Facebook recently made some huge changes. There was quite an uproar from Facebook users, many demanding that Facebook change back. Yet within a week or so, the uproar has died down and I still see the majority of my Facebook friends actively checking in just like they always did. Why? Because everyone likes to stay with the group. If a group of Facebook friends decided they wanted to switch to Google+, they might be able to sway a bunch more people to do the same. If only one or two Facebook users switches, the majority will often stick around, perhaps waiting for a large section of their circle to make the first move. Also, Facebook acquires social media platforms that can be their potential competitors. For instance, Instagram is now owned by Facebook. Before, Instagram has been growing its audience because of some tools like ProjectInsta.
Unless Facebook continues to anger their users on a regular basis with changes that the users don’t really care for, I do not see Google+ nor any other social network site taking over where Facebook stands today.