The following is excerpted from 'What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us,' available now from McGraw-Hill Professional.
Chapter 1: Why I Love Google+
If Google+ was "two guys/gals in a garage with seed funding," I would adopt a wait-and-see attitude, but this is hardly the case. Although new projects have failed at Google before (as at many large companies), this doesn't mean that search is the only thing Google can do.
"Google+ is Google itself. We're extending it across all that we do -- search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube -- so that each of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are."
Bradley Horowitz, vice president, products for Google+, Google. Wired, September 27, 2011
As my mother used to say, "Some things need to be believed to be seen," so here is why I believe in Google+ before Facebook decided to put together three pictures from three separate posts.
I've seen 800 million people (the number that Facebook bandies about) get on it:
- Google has a track record. Google has delivered better mousetraps when most people didn't think better mousetraps were necessary. For example, Yahoo!, Inktomi, and AltaVista were good enough for searching, and Hotmail was good enough for e-mail. Google's record isn't flawless, but no company's is -- even Apple had the Apple III, LISA, Newton, and Macintosh Office.
- Google is dead serious about this business. Insiders tell me Google+ is one of the top priorities of Google. It's not an experiment or project buried within another business unit. The guy who runs Google+, Vic Gundotra, reports directly to Larry Page, the CEO of Google. Google+ is a core part of the functionality of all of Google, and it would be astoundingly embarrassing for Google+ to fail.
- Google has infinite money and talent. Having infinite money and talent doesn't mean an organization is infallible, as Webvan (1.2 billion invested so people could order asparagus online), Lehman Brothers, and Enron have proven. But having infinite money and talent doesn't guarantee you'll fail, either. Google is assaulting two big companies on their established turfs, so money and talent are necessary in this battle.
- Google owns the river. In ancient lore, one of the labors given to Hercules was to clean the huge Augean stables in a day. Hercules accomplished this herculean task by diverting the Alpheus and Peneus Rivers through the stables. Google owns one of the biggest rivers of Internet traffic (search), and it can divert people to Google+ anytime it wants. For example, when Google put an arrow on its search page pointing to the button to click to join Google+, hundreds of thousands of people joined.
- Google owns the playing field. Google can do more than merely tilt the playing field, because it owns the playing field. For example, Google integrated Google+ into search results, and Samsung phones and tablets come with the Google+ application pre-installed. Google bought Motorola's phone business, so we can assume similar integration will happen with Motorola phones and tablets too. Gmail account holders automatically have a Google+ account. In the future, Chrome, Google's browser which recently passed Firefox in popularity, will incorporate Google+ also.
When you add up these factors, Google brings indomitable power to Google+ -- roughly equal, I'd say, to Apple having Steve Jobs as a CEO. (This statement is a compliment to both Google and Steve.)