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What is Google+ for?

Edward Vielmetti asked on Google Plus “What is Google+ for?” I thought Peter Kaminski‘s response was particularly insightful. (Quoted in full with Pete’s permission.)

The purpose of Google+ is to keep you within the Google web (as opposed to having you outside anybody’s web, or in someone else’s web). Where “web” used to mean the spidered collection of documents and files available via HTTP, but has grown to mean your Digital Life.

Google’s business is to mediate as much of your Digital Life as it can — similar to the way Microsoft’s business in the old days was to mediate as much of your Digital Office as it could (back in the day when Digital Life and Digital Office were nearly equivalent). The monetization model is completely different, of course; but the more of your Digital Life Google can mediate, the more they can monetize, and the more sticky the whole suite is. Google wants to be as ubiquitous as Microsoft used to feel.

(Google and Microsoft have also had altruistic goals of making the world a better place while running their business, but of course that means they have to be successful at business to be successful in their altruistic goals.)

Google has been pretty good at understanding how far Digital Life will reach into Real Life. Want to find out where you are physically and where you’re going? There’s a Google (Maps) for that. Want to watch millions of channels of video? There’s a Google (YouTube) for that. Want to talk to your friends, family and business associates on the phone? There’s a Google (Android, Voice) for that. Etc.

It took them a while to figure out that “socializing with friends” was a big part of regular folks’ Real Life, and then it’s taken them a while to figure out how to make a Google for that. But it looks to me like they got it right with Plus.

Bonus look at the other players in the game:

Apple: understands the idea of a Digital Life, but hampered by its long-term view that Digital Life would be built around digital assets (documents, apps, media), instead of Real Life.

Facebook: has a huge head start on mediating your Digital Life, because it’s built on socializing, which is a big part of regular folks’ Real Life. May or may not figure out there are other parts to it.

Microsoft: mediated most people’s Digital Life for a long time. Parts of it understand that there’s more to Digital Life than Digital Office. But they may die by milking their old cash cow (Innovator’s Dilemma) before succeeding in the new game.

Yahoo: accidentally, subconsciously, understood Digital Life early on. Couldn’t wake up and realize it consciously, gave away the race.

12 Responses to “What is Google+ for?”

  1. Your Kaminsky link leads to Vielmetti’s G+ page.

  2. Not any more. Thanks, Jonathan.

  3. Love the article! But in terms of Microsoft I do not agree – yet, since there are too many concerns/fears with cloud computing.

  4. [...] The purpose of Google+ is to keep you within the Google web (as opposed to having you outside anybody’s web, or in someone else’s web). Where “web” used to mean the spidered collection of documents and files available via HTTP, but has grown to mean your Digital Life. via hyperorg.com [...]

  5. Thanks for the post! I actually just wrote an article on this topic. I think your post demonstrates excellent insight into the mind of Google and WHY they would want to do all this in the first place.

    My favorite thing about Google+ is the improved control of what information you share with which people. Social Circles is a great element to the whole approach.

    Read more about Google+ Circles here…
    http://familybusinesstips.com/2011/07/what-is-google-plus/

    Also – I think the SPARKS component could have a big impact on it’s success as well. I really like the idea of being able to filter out the information coming in to me.

    Excellent Post Thanks!
    Joe Shaw

  6. Well… I like Google+ on the techno/policies level
    as much as I didn’t like FB on that level.

    I guess many of us had the same feelings.

    However, as the post and the quote — I’m afraid the direction all it goes …

    See, even before G+ we saw the Web through the Google’s goggles — no matter how neutral and objective Google tried to be (I belive it tried hard) —
    the perception of Web has shifted from seeing “Small Pieces Loosly Coupled” (thanks David !!!) into a perception of gigantic intelligent application working on the data called “web”.

    With Google+ it will become even more dangerous, no matter how “open” G+ will be opposed to FB….

    Why so?

    Why our Digital SOCIAL life gets so easy into hands of these giants? Why actions like Diaspora (now in Alpha) does not gain momentum? Why ISPs around the world does not offer LOCAL Social Networks (talking to ALL other on the entire Web).

    I would prefer to go to such small places, as I do, with milions of others, prefer to drink morning coffee in small Parisian unfedereted places and meet people there, as opposed to Starbucks and have the same smell and taste everywhere I go …

    What’s the matter ?

  7. how can i login in google +

  8. [...] What is Google+ for?- David Weinberger, July 8, 2011 [...]

  9. [...] been expended by social media idiots working themselves into a frenzy over a) what it is; b) what it’s for; c) whether it will kill Facebook; d) how and when big brands are going to be able to use it as yet [...]

  10. [...] What is Google+ for?- David Weinberger, July 8, 2011 [...]

  11. i think google+ is very important to all people to seacrh there want to like gadgets accesories etc and people there want to see in the world ^_^ sorry for my bad english…

  12. It took me a day to setup a Google+ account for my business. Then somehow I am no longer able to login to the account. Every single resource out there simply points towards recovering personal Google pages: there are 0 resources for recovering Google plus accounts for businesses.

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