Google Has Gone All In | The Big Gamble

Will it pay off… or not?

From the clever fingers / brain of Marco Ament:

It’s easy not to “be evil” when you’re ahead. But when you’re backed into a corner and your usual strategies aren’t working, it’s easy to get frustrated, scared, and angry, and throw previously held morals and standards out the window.

Google’s foray into social networking was late.

They knew this. The reversal of some of their key policies, touted as differentiators (such as now welcomes young people, when it said it wouldn’t and now it allows pseudonyms, sort of, when it said it wouldn’t), smacks as a little desperate along with the ‘Google+-button-creep’ into all of their other product lines.

So why are they going all in?

Maybe, it’s not to create hoards of long term users (especially when you take into consideration how users only spend 3 minutes on the site last January, compared to half of the same time for Pinterest users or 7.5 hours for Facebook maniacs) but more the fact that it simply increases their ability to productise your ongoing use of their other platforms:

Google scrambled to build Google+ because it watched Facebook and saw users were willing to volunteer biographical data to their social network, and that data is crucial to serving accurate ads users want to click.

From the insightful Google doesn’t care if you ever come back post—which is why you’ve already cleaned out your Google data… haven’t you…

Being such a big Google fan and user, this is a fascinating scenario to watch play out.

Especially if you extend the metaphor a little further with the knowledge that you might get lucky, but in the end, the house always wins.

What do you think, will their gamble pay off?

My name is DK. And I approve this message.


  1. I tend to use twitter DK. I’ve looked at facebook. I also joined Google+. G+ is a bit nothing happening. Maybe Nelson is too small. Maybe it is difficult to get others to see the point of it when facebook and twitter have it covered. I really don’t know.

    1. Twitter is my fav network as well – Facebook is just for those nearest and dearest… like you say, nothing is really happening probably because it doesn’t have a critical mass (whatever that is) – the test for me is when my non-geeky friends rave about something… but as I laid out above, maybe they aren’t too concerned about that… just that you’ve signed up once to get that nugget of demographic info!

  2. If I had to drop one to save my life, I couldn’t decide which of the three main social networks I use would go (Google+, Facebook, Twitter). Each has its own merits, and because of this I use each in different ways. Facebook is the only properly personal network (for people I know well in person – whether having met them IRL or not). Google+ and Twitter are great outward searching networks but Google+ has more of it’s own depth where Twitter seems more about referencing/recommending other sites depth. Maybe…

    There are enough similar elements of each that you can use them for similar purposes, e.g. lists, circles, groups, but only Google+ does it really well. I feel okay following huge numbers on Google+ because it’s like using a search engine (but within my network of people) to discover content. I guess I like Google search and it feels natural to use Google+ in a similar way.

    Each has great content but only Twitter has an easy way to bookmark it for deeper perusal later – and is easy enough to do so via smartphone with our mobile internet limitations. I only really follow a few people on Twitter compared to most others. I don’t want to follow hundreds or thousands of people because I use Twitter to follow people who produce good regular content (or link to it in any case) – Like you DK.

    Each can be used to keep in contact with your close friends but facebook practically holds the monopoly on this at the moment. It’s popular with students and family so I use it but I’d rather use Google+ for these purposes.

    Google seems to be the best all round – taking features that work from others and making it work better than they did. I don’t worry that they’ve changed their policy in such drastic ways, even going against some core ideals from earlier days, because people change as they grow and learn. At the end of the day, “Don’t be evil” is a great motto and a good ideal to aim for. If they don’t succeed in that then I’m not going to hold it against them because I fail at trying to do the same thing every day. But I keep trying :-)

    Sorry for such a rambling, self-focused, and opinionated comment DK! :-)

    1. It’s a good question to ask – which one to drop – thanks for taking the time to comment. Especially when there’s such a lovely compliment in there as well – thank you!

      For the little I’ve used Google+ (before getting kicked off) it was a nice platform – not a game changing but nice nonetheless. There was too many similarities with other platforms and I’ve still yet to see it ‘cross the chasm’ to become more of a wider network tool for full use.

      Love your take on on failing and a great lesson for us all to learn from… the issue someone could raise is when a company aims to fail to veil other wins…

      Regarding rambling – they are provocative chunks of discourse which are welcomed here, thank you again!

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