Rise of Google+

The search giant may finally have got third time lucky with Plus

In just two weeks, Google’s much-anticipated and delayed foray into the ‘social’ Web, Google Plus, crossed the 10 million mark. Despite being launched in an exclusive by-invites-only mode, no less than 1 billion items were shared in a single day and the +1 button (similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’) is already all over the Web.

Google may finally have got third time lucky with Plus. After two failed attempts to enter the ‘social’ sphere on the Web — the lukewarm Google Wave and the controversial Buzz — Plus’ “field trial phase” appears to be going down well with users. Amidst reports of Facebook (the social networking giant that has over 750 million users worldwide) losing users — which has been rubbished by the firm — Plus hopes to give users more privacy, more control over their data stream and an integrated Google experience by weaving together its plethora of existing services.

Figures quoted by third-party analytics service provider, Google Analytics, project that India is the second largest country in terms of Google Plus users, comprising over 5.6 per cent of the total share, following the U.S. at 49.3 per cent. The number of active users is pegged at around 18,000 in India. While the accuracy of this statistic cannot be vouched for, experts say this is plausible given that Google dominates the Internet in emerging markets.

Indeed, Google appears to have learnt its lessons. But can it replace the wide appeal of Facebook or provide the simplicity and speed of Twitter? Plus will have to do a lot more than it is doing now to actually get people to make that shift. So what does Plus offer? For starters, Google Plus’ Beta already appears to score over its competitors on privacy. Learning its lessons from Buzz, which creeped out Gmail users, privacy controls are fairly ubiquitous. This is particularly important, because unlike Facebook, Google users are bound to be paranoid about the fact that their personal email is closely linked to this new social media platform.