It’s one step forward, two steps backwards in Google’s social strategy — and that’s hardly surprising.
It has been this way for a few years now. Its latest attempt aimed at separating its three core products is good on paper, less so with regard to market penetration and chances of success in the social field.
Google made its debut in 2009 with a social platform called Google Wave, a real-time messaging framework. Its first drag and drop multi-feature communication network miserably failed because it was simply too complex to be understood by its users.
It shut down in 2010.
One year later, Google+ was launched – with so many nice add-ons.
It hasn’t worked so far.
Bye Bye Google+?
Almost four years later since Google+ was launched, Google has decided that its offering would be split into three different products, likely to be offered to customers outside the Google+ platform: “photo management” will be separated from “social network” and from the “hangouts communication platform”.
So, Google will have to decide to focus on one of these three areas of value.
Details are sketchy, but recent news suggests that new partnerships will be sought, in my view, to bulk up in….well, it’s unclear where!
What’s clear, however, is that divvying up Google+ is not the answer and may be not be a very smart move.
None of the three products (Streams, Photos & Hangouts) boasts a significant competitive advantage vis-a-vis rivals, in spite of 1.2 billion of registered users for Google. In fact, those users do not equate to social engagement and activity, which is not unusual for second-tier social networks. Only 35% of Google+’s total users are active members.