Every once in a while, I’ll be sitting in my Gmail inbox. I’ve pursued Facebook at least three days into the past, scoured Pinterest in every single category I can think of, and I find myself at an impasse. Clearly, I have reached the end of the internet. But wait! I have forgotten Google Plus!
Yeah, that lasts about ten minutes.
There has been a lot of hubbub on the blagotubes about why G+ is not really gaining traction as a social medium. Some folks blame lack of demand. This strikes me as Google fan boys/girls attempting to blame Google’s failure on everyone else, rather than the company itself.
I sympathize with this perspective. I am a Google fangirl and I hate to see my favorite tech company fail. Watching Google Buzz fall flat on its face was physically painful. Google should have learned its limits then, but it didn’t. Honesty, I would really like to see Google stop trying to do social media. Google needs to stick to what it’s good at: giving people exactly what they want.
Think about your favorite social media sites. The principle I’m about to explain applies to all of them, but I had this realization while scrolling through Pinterest boards, so I’ll use that as an example.
My dream bed is a dark mahogany four-poster in which the posts are all carved into differing dragon heads. Throw in some Celtic knotwork on the frame and I will drop as much money on that fucker as I have to. It will be mine. But if I wanted to find a bed, or a wooden bed, or a mahogany bed, on Pinterest, searching in the box is decidedly, tragically, unhelpful.
This is because Pinterest isn’t a search site. It’s function is not to help you find what you want, but rather to keep you scrolling through pins as long as humanly possible. It wants you to find and see things that you never knew you wanted while still being pushed by this desire to find That Thing you set off for. Before you know it you’re scrolling through the Geek category lolling at the Harry Potter and Hunger Games memes, dream bed long forgotten.
In stark contrast, Google’s services are designed to get you exactly what you want as fast as they can.
I will put my Google fangirl hat back on and say that Google is the best at getting people what they want. Because of this, they cannot — they should not — attempt to break into social media, which is designed to keep you from what you want. Google excels at creating exceptional code that serves a specific purpose for their end users. That’s not what social media is about, and Google’s failure to realize this is why they will never, ever, create the next Facebook.