Google+ and Facebook: The rise of social media, and the failed attempts that ensued

There is general consensus over the importance of social media. Brands across the globe have made social media a multi-billion dollar empire. Turns out, apart from Twitter and Facebook, not many have been successful at leaving a mark with a successful social network.


There is general consensus over the importance of social media. Brands across the globe have made social media a multi-billion dollar empire. Turns out, apart from Twitter and Facebook, not many have been successful at leaving a mark with a successful social network.

It’s a never ending cycle. You sign up on one network, and enjoy it because all your friends are there. And then some of your friends tell you of newer networks that boast of a couple of cool new features. And you think to yourself, you’re probably better off at one place with more friends, rather than have your friends scattered across networks.

Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn to a great extent has made the most of the early move advantage in carving a niche. For short form communication, Twitter stands out. For networking with old friends, Facebook has built the largest user base, and when it comes to a professional network, LinkedIn is without doubt the most credible of them all.

All these names aside, there have been attempts by Google and Microsoft to build a successful social network. Around the same time, Google had discovered that its first attempt at social media – Orkut  – wasn’t very successful. There had to be something new. Something that was better.

 Google+ and Facebook: The rise of social media, and the failed attempts that ensued

Google+

Failure isn’t new to Google. Prior to Google+ there was Google Wave, which was meant to revolutionise the way we looked at email. Then there was Google Buzz. No one even remembers them any more. In a very intriguing piece in the Mashable, Vic Gundotra is reported to have constantly pitched to Google CEO Larry Page on the need to create a social network. Quoting a former Google executive, the report says, “Vic was just this constant bug in Larry's ear: 'Facebook is going to kill us. Facebook is going to kill us.  I am pretty sure Vic managed to frighten Larry into action. And voila: Google+ was born."

tech2 Google+

Today, Google+ is considered as dying, if not dead. Vic Gundotra isn’t at Google anymore. But money has been invested and continues to be invested. According to early estimates in 2011, the total investment that went into Google+ was $585 million dollar. TheNextWeb said the number “is eerily close to what News Corp paid for MySpace all those years ago, which was $580 million in 2005.”

Microsoft So.cl

When it comes to Microsoft, the focus currently is on Windows 10, and other exciting products such as Cortana and HoloLens. However, in December 2010, Microsoft offered to buy Facebook for $15 billion. And Facebook humbly refused to sell. Microsoft then attempted to create social network of its own.

socl screen

Microsoft does have a social network called So.cl (pronounced Social) and chances of you having heard of it are pretty slim. In many ways, So.cl is similar to Google+.

We wonder why corporations the size of Google and Microsoft have failed to create a social network worth consideration. We reckon, it all comes down to what users experience and expect. Any attempt to run it as a product to generate revenue is going to miss the most important factor – user experience.

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