Mark Zuckerberg is somewhere partying now, raving over the news of Google+’s traffic decline. After reaching a few summit points coupled with great early adopter reviews, Google+ experiences its first major bump in the road. According to a Bloomberg report, the week of July 23rd marks a 3 percent slide in total Google+ visits—this accounts for 1.79 million hits (US figures only). Not only are visitors going down, but the time that users spend in the site also decreased by 10 percent, or approximately 10 minutes and 15 seconds.
Earlier this month, a thrilled Larry Page announced the warm public reception on Google+ saying, “We are seeing over 1 billion items shared and received in a single day. So while we still have a lot of work still to do, we are really excited about our progress with Google+.” He might be singing a different tune right now.
There are quite a number of reasons why, despite reaching 20 million members in less than a month, Google+ will go through a long path of warfare to topple Facebook. First, there’s users’ fear to cross over to a new, unfamiliar service. For a second reality check, it is going to be difficult to forego Facebook: all the relationships we’ve built in that social network are strong, and don’t translate directly to the Google+ experience.
There is no real assurance that we can create a better “circle” in Google+. The new social network, privacy features, integration with existing Google Apps and all, is still new. And speaking of assurance and privacy, security could also be another factor. Google has been battling some serious cybercrimes and malware attacks over the last few months, not necessarily on Google+, but its overarching platform, including Android. Plus, the somewhat-techie look may not really be appealing to everyone. This could partially explain why Google+ has seen spike in the number of male members, rather than the opposite sex.
It is too early to count Google+ out of the game just because of this small percentage trickling off. Others are looking for Facebook-like or Twitter-like alternatives, and Google+ listens. Aside from the high level of integration Google+ already has with Gmail, mobile photos, local search and other features, the company has many more features and points of integration planned for the coming months, including social gaming features. It also strengthened its portfolio when it acquired Fridge, another social network.
Google+ suddenly hits the wall and the momentum slows down. This goes to show that they still have a massive amount work in order to truly rule the social networking sphere. And a good starting point would be data—lucky for Google, they have tons of it. Another big differentiator that Google+ can critically look at is leveraging their monopoly. Hey, you’re brothers with Android and the largest search engine in the planet!
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