Within the first week after the release of Google+, Googles next attempt to enter the social network field, Googles market capitalization went up by roughly 20bn dollar. This is more worth mentioning then the 100bn valuation currently seen for Facebook on secondary markets. Not only this caught our attention and we had a closer look at Google+.
When we first saw Google+ we were impressed by the technical “touchiness“ of the user interface. We realized this is something that could be big in the future – topic focus and noise reduction. While Facebook, MySpace and other Social Networks are centered around friends and connections between people, Google+ is build to differentiate between groups of interests or topics. This reduces unwanted, disrupting, and unimportant information while also allowing to better control who accesses what.
Here at useKit we have built useKit K! around the combination of content+users, what we call a “context”. We think Google+ circles represent this combination of content and users. The difference between Google+ and useKit is Google+ was built to create an open space for discussions and flow of information, while useKit K! is built as a closed system that supports discussions and collaboration within closed user groups or companies.
Google+ has some very interesting concepts that we will keep watching and the most important in our opinion is the change in the way informations are distributed within social networks. While Facebook and others rely on symmetrical connections (established friendships) Google+ is more asymmetric like the Followers concept in Twitter. Users can be added to circles without their permission, which resembles following in Twitter, and interestingly and important for privacy one is not able to see in which circles one is being placed by someone else. On the other hand Google+ also shows how an established ecosystem of applications and users can boost the popularity of a new application with Google+ counting 20+ million users after a few weeks. And further how distribution can be build into a product, for example the deep integration with gmail and how not yet signed up people are commonly included in Google+ (see screenshot).