Games and Google Plus
I’ve been pondering Google+ recently. If you don’t know, this is Google’s most recent attempt to get into social media. The last one being Wave, which closed a couple of years ago. I was a fan of Wave and was really impressed by its technology, but it was the implementation and user-interface that seemed to let it down to me. So lessons learnt and along comes Google+ and this time the company has been using the full (and impressive) weight of its search, gmail and YouTube systems to push it. They also had a number of games companies put games into it. However 9 months on and nobody is saying much about how well it is working:
It’s been nine months since Google added games to its Google+ platform, and developers who are considering whether to get on the Google games bandwagon are surely inquiring from other devs what their experiences have been. They may find, however, that details are particularly hard to come by.
In an informal survey of a handful of Google+ developers, Gamasutra found them to be surprisingly closed-mouthed, reticent to discuss specifics – or to discuss anything at all.
So I’ve been looking around for some numbers on this from other sources and came across this article, which gives impressive numbers for Google+ but seems to suggest that the people making up those numbers are not that active:
I’ve posted nearly every day to my G+ page, and have engaged others in conversation about many a topic. My “circler” count of those following me currently sits at 13,590, dwarfing both my Facebook friends (400) and Twitter followers (1500). I no longer view Google Plus as a ghost town, that much I can say. It is not dead and doesn’t need another article delivering post-mortem remarks. That said, I still do not believe Google Plus is the social network it needs to be, nor do I believe it will ever pose a significant threat to Facebook in its current form. … Despite the fact I have over 13,000 people allegedly following my posts, I’m lucky if five or six of them share or comment on one of my articles I’ve put up. Twenty comments is a huge success. The same is true for the G+ “power users” if you look at their numbers. Turning to someone like Robert Scoble, a social media guru who has amassed 1.2 million circlers, scrolling through his recent posts he has 12, 23, 28, 15, 18 comments. Occasionally he’ll get up to a hundred or two or three on the most popular posts, but still, there seems to be a distinct lack of engagement from 99.998% of his alleged followers.
Now I should state that I’d like to see Google+ make it. If there is only one huge social media player, that is a bad thing for games developers; we need platforms to work with. Things like the Google Hangout (recently expanded) do indeed get positive feedback. Google also make amazing software; Gmail for example is stuffed full of clever ideas and potent usability features. It’s just that as yet, I don’t think Google+ has found it’s mojo, it is still too busy trying not to be Facebook.