Why doesn't this happen on Facebook or Twitter? Here's what I think:
For most people, Facebook is just the wrong context for intellectual discussions.
Similarly, Twitter's medium and user interface are too limiting to have quality discussions since there is no centralized concept of a post. It's just a sea of tweets, retweets and reply tweets that you have to track if you want to follow the discussion.
A lot of my real-world friends are on G+ but that's really only an ancillary benefit to me because I can direct share things to my friends in 1-click from anywhere on the web (e.g. with the +1 Chrome extension). G+ would still have value to me without them, honestly.
I still agree, but it's sometimes hard for HN to separate their own niche uses of software versus what will be successful on the market. Pinterest and even Chill are examples of this
If Google were really interested in integrating their crawling search with social search, they'd provide a "share this search with your circles" feature on the google search page, together with some descriptive text that you add like in a normal G+ post .. so people in my circles can respond with results that they think are relevant/related/tangential/interesting/whatever.
Google is making the mistake of fighting the last war. FaceBook may not own the social graph forever, but even Google can't unseat them with a frontal assault. People often compare the situation to FaceBook's conquest over MySpace, but they forget that the MySpace user experience was pure shit. As long as the FaceBook experience isn't terrible, there isn't much reason for them to leave.
Lastly, the Facebook user experience is really horrible. That's one of the top reasons I don't use it. Menus are not ordered, options are hidden, many parts are not explained nor documented, top search works different depending which page you are one, etc. And even though my grandma uses it, most of the times, she's posting on other people's walls things she wanted to share with other people, or not posting on walls when she is trying to communicate with my brother. The experience is just too complicated.
No matter how much they are claimed to solve different problems, they work in the same way and occupy a similar brain space. Facebook is already well above and beyond the level of time sink that many people are willing to accept. Their user numbers are already starting to drop in many countries because many people -- even ordinary users -- eventually run out of patience.
Given Facebook is already wearing peoples' patience thin, it's unlikely many people really want to give full engagement to both sites at once. People just don't have the time, and after you've spent 30 minutes on Facebook, do you really want to go over to Google+ and repeat the same process again?
It's kind of like trying to play multiple similar MMORPGs (say, WoW and LOTRO) at the same time; they occupy the same sort of brain space, so when you're bored with one, you probably don't want to go play the other. But maybe you can actively enjoy two different experiences; say, World of Tanks and EVE at the same time... or Facebook and Twitter.
Google+ could hypothetically win out against Facebook, but it's unlikely that they can seriously coexist with a large overlap in users. Most likely, Google+ will end up like other social networking services like Orkut; very popular among some particular groups (Brazillians, in the Orkut case), but very lacking in penetration outside of that, due to the network effect.
There are too many distractions online, I don't watch TV at all either, but I just don't have the brain space for the following peoples feeds.
I had scoble on my follow list on G+ when I first joined, and I had to drop him because he just produced way too much crap I didnt have time or interest to read.
Between my family, friends, reddit and HN, I have way too much content than I know what to do with.
Aside from this - it detracts from my attempts to dedicate time to learning new things.
I am very close to dropping reddit and HN and only watching Kahn and other online trainings.
It really doesn't do anything that people don't already get from forums/facebook/twitter/linkedin.
If you are on Google+, and you participate, you will notice that it's a big success. I'm not saying this because I love Google, I'm saying it because it's almost the only social network I feel compelled to use.
Can you explain that more? I'm on G+ and I participate but I have seen no evidence that "it's a big success."
G+ isn't really a social network, it's an extension to my Google profile and Google account. I would like to use it as my social network but it's lacking a couple of crucial things.
The reason it's suited for almost sharing news only and as an ad-hoc blogging service is because it doesn't allow you to actually be in touch with people like Facebook does. Unlike in Facebook, in G+ you can't post to the equivalent of people's wall and you can't send short messages such as on Facebook. There's email but it's not available with all my contacts, and G+ chat only works with a select few people, and there's always a barrier in writing an ordinary email.
Surprisingly, addressing a single person privately or publically is the only thing that I need from Facebook. I don't use anything else on Facebook so I could probably switch to G+ with most of my friend base if G+ had those. Surely the user interface is much better on Google side, Facebook is absolutely horrific.
The company I work does womens fashion marketing for bigger e-commerce sites retailers and designers. I was researching over the weekend to find any designer on G+ and couldn't find anything. There are some active bloggers but most get no +'s or the profiles havent been updated since 4 or 5 months ago.
From my 2 or so hours of research trying to find any thread of activity, most women sharing content are definitely not doing it on Google plus.
There are many kinds of different people on Google+. Some came from twitter, but many of them are just new to the social scene are starting to get popular.
Facebook I use mostly to keep up with family members and friends getting married and having kids, which is fine. Twitter continues to be a great pseudo-rss feed, streaming in tons of content in such easily digestible bite-sized pieces (but every time I try to figure out the course of conversation between other people I remember why I hate their interface). Google's plan may have been to be all things to all people and they haven't been able to, but it's good for me right now for finding interesting stories and very interesting people to talk with and learn from in the niches I care about. The interface is designed for back and forth conversation, and the signal to noise ratio is such that I actually enjoy it. Again, for now, why would I care about more than that?
> While Intel gets dozens of responses to its posts on Google+ Ms. Walter said the company has nine million "fans" on Facebook and gets thousands of comments there.
This (and the trending-twitter-content/youtube-comment quality of the thousands of comments you get on those posts) is exactly the problem with public discussions on Facebook. Really it's a problem that no social network has been able to solve as it scales up as far as I know. 100s of millions of people are going to cause serious tragedies of the commons, of course, but we also get the growing pains of reddit and, to a lesser extent, HN. Hopefully google+ can maintain it's comfortable minuses for a little while longer.
I have around 150 friends on Facebook and I see a new time line "story" every 2 or 3 minutes (average). I follow 40 or so people on Twitter and see about 1 tweet per 15 minutes (average) and on Google+ I have 44 people in circles and there are only 3 people that actually post anything, it averages at 1 post to my "feed" per day. It's abysmal.
How about publicly post long form content to your followers? Because G+ excels in that, and both Facebook and Twitter fail at it. There's a network effect problem, for sure, but it does have a purpose in the situation you outline.
As to how busy your stream will be, if you only follow quiet people then you won't see much in the way of posts. There are a lot of people on Google+ sharing/creating interesting content. It's just a matter of searching for them.
This article feels like it's shilling for facebook.
"It turns out Google+ is a virtual ghost town compared with the site of rival Facebook Inc., which is preparing for a massive initial public offering.'
Among the most compelling negatives about G+ for me is that ... it's the emergent evil face of Google.
Nothing has changed my view of the company as much as it's exceptionally ham-handed dealings with real identities, real names, pseudonyms, and the like, particularly as expressed by Schmid and Gundotra (with an honorable mention to Horowitz) in the past six or eight months.
To be honest, I don't think Google even needs a social networking. They will be the kings of search, youtube, and email for the foreseeable future, and that's certainly enough to rake in billions in profit.
My own familiarity with social networks gives me a strong hope that some sort of social networking interchange protocol can be established which will enable the sort of sharing and disclosure (among friends and common interest groups) we've come to love, while limiting the exploitation by advertisers, spammers, scammers, and surveillance entities many of us have come to dislike intensely.
I see Diaspora as a very significant development to this end.
Facebook has made big moves recently to be the place to share all media (news papers, music, movies, tv etc) through their announced partnerships. Sharing media is something we've been waiting for and users have been doing themselves for years. For all the complaints, privacy concerns, user experience changes -- it seems to be going quite well.
However, Facebook's mobile apps have been atrocious. They are just recently approaching usable. How long did we have to wait for an iPad version of the Facebook app? Considering how often and how long people access Facebook from mobile devices it is astonishing that the mobile experience is what it is. Where is the innovation?
Google has an army of Android devices -- just take mobile and make the most awesome, seamless, integrated mobile experience ever. Partner with everything that's cool in the physical world. Social people get out and do things. Google+ should bridge the gap between offline and online social experiences. Android android android.
It is really really weird. All social groups have circle-jerky tendency, none is as apparent at the scale as G+
I remember thinking about MySpace that, with 80 million users, nobody would ever catch up. Boy was I wrong.
I hear he bought a paper once, too ....
if all my friends migrated exclusively to G+, it would be fine, i would as well. but for that to happen, all of their friends would need to migrate...and so on.
i deleted my g+ account a week ago because no one has only a g+ account, everyone on g+ is ALSO on FB. as long as there continues to be a significant majority of content posted to FB (in my case over 90%), i have absolutely no desire to waste even more time being faux-social on an additional network. i have a real life as i am sure most people do.
i would need the equivalent of google reader to aggregate my social feeds so that i can stay sane. until that happens, "no thanks".
I'm a FB refugee and G+ is the first social network I don't have to maintain. It's just there. I use other G products anyway so I don't think about using or not using it, if having the account is really worth it. And circles are so damn easy I don't care about adding even whole public circles I wouldn't normally friend/follow on any other network - they are there, I don't share with them, I can read them once per month and their existence doesn't bother me, if I realize I don't read them, I can drop a whole circle 4000 people at once with two clicks. And it's usability is disobliging, especially comparing to FB.
if you happen to find yourself in a situation where 95% of your friends are either exclusively or primarily on G+, you are likely a rare exception and don't need to weigh a choice between following 95% of what your friends share and the freedom from "maintaining" a social account.
i am very specific about what i want to share and what i dont. for that to happen, yes you need to explicitly post and not post. i hate the whole "share everything implicitly" concept. to be honest, beyond the FB feed of my tight circle of friends, i don't use it for anything else.
Google now has huge internal morale problems because of Google+ and the culture is falling to pieces. That, in my opinion, is why it will never succeed.