Google+: Twitter Should Panic, Facebook Should Copy
Each day we are learning more about Google+: Especially about how it feels when we are just using it. And the more I use it, the more I am convinced that Twitter should fear it most. Here are my key takeaways for both Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter should switch into panic mode directly. Ever since its launch, the basic features of the network have remained the same: following (asynchronous relations) as the adding mechanism, a one-for-all news stream that does not have any option for noise control besides lists (straight broadcasting), and basic 140 signs within the stream – no media, no commenting (at least not IN the stream). This was big enough as a distinction to Facebook, but Google offers the same and more: a de-facto follower mechanism, but with (superior) circles instead of lists and a feature-rich news stream. The only advantages Twitter has right now are celebrity and company accounts and the critical mass of users. These are what? 100 million? Complicated to really find out the exact number, and these are still a lot, but with Google’s reach of around a billion people they would just have to convert 10% into G+ to beat this. Not impossible at all.
While I would suggest a full panic mode for Twitter, Facebook with a 700 million+ user head start can remain pretty calm, but now is the time to innovate - and to copy. As Sean Parker pointed out (around minute 20 in this video), there was a period of time in which MySpace could have beaten Facebook if they would have just copied their best features, in my opinion especially the news feed. But they did not, thinking that their massive advantage in active users could save them. Facebook will be smart enough not to do the same mistake. On a developers conference in Berlin I heard that Mark Zuckerberg did not believe in users making lists, and that he was more or less opposed to the feature – although he saw that intelligent filtering for sharing and the feed would be needed. Well, circles accompanied with a “disable re-share”-function can be an answer, obviously. So if they are smart, they will copy (or "modify-copy") that and other tools. And keep staying ahead of Google+ in features: never stop working on your product (unlike MySpace, who thought they could just milk the cow).
Tomorrow there is a big announcement due from Facebook, and I am sure it will be a product development that is not too easy to copy. Competition between G+ and FB will help to make our user experiences better and better.