Technology is our friend: Why does no one compare Google+ to Twitter?
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July 1, 2011

Why does no one compare Google+ to Twitter?

Article first published in an immature, early and wrong version as 2 Things I Need To Understand In Google Plus on Technorati.

I have read many of the initial reactions to Google+ and most of them compare it to Facebook (see my previous post). Different features are compared and everyone has an opinion on how Google+ may become a "Facebook Killer" or not. What I don't really understand is why no one sees how Twitter fits in a world with Google+ and Facebook. After sleeping a night over my first couple hours in Google+, I see a far greater possibility for damage on Twitter than FB. I have published a post on Technorati, and the article was immature and... wrong. I didn't understand why Google+ offered asynchronous adding and why there wouldn't be a fanpage product. Now I understand both things.

A) Asynchronous adding
Unlike Facebook, you can add someone without their permission. This is pretty much like following someone on Twitter - their public posts appear in your stream. But unless they "follow you back", your updates don't get into their stream. As soon as they add you, too, the Twitter-like following feature becomes a Facebook-like friendship relation with mutual posts in streams, depending on which circles you are in. This is a) a great way of getting a network going early on (and have a lively stream from the very beginning) and b) combines Twitter-like publishing with Facebook like media and commenting. I keep thinking this might turn out to be more dangerous to Twitter than it is to Facebook.

B) Fanpage product
Now that I understood their adding mechanics, I see why there is no initial Fanpage product: It is not necessary. Any brand can enter Google+ and be added by users, just like on Twitter, but with more capabilities (media posts, comments). To match Facebook's product, some analytics and insights tools, some targeting tools (for example with regards to language/country) and maybe some profile customization will be necessary, but other than that, everything is right there. Any celebrity can open a Google+ account just like a Twitter account and will get a ton of followers soon.

So in both cases I now see why I didn't understand them from the very beginning: I saw it from a Facebook vs. Google+ perspective. Now I think that we should look at it more from a Twitter vs. Google+ perspective: I don't think Google+ is what Facebook should be, but what Twitter could have been. Google may have deceived us into thinking they are attacking Facebook, but they are smart enough to do so by trying to eliminate others, first. But that might change tomorrow, too. Just my initial thoughts. Part II.