Most of those “Is Google Plus worth doing?” and “Will Google Plus beat Facebook” questions have been covered in posts like these…
- Google +1 Button Challenges Facebook Across the Web
- Google Plus Promising but Too Early to Tell
- Google Plus Mentions Beat Buzz but not Facebook or Twitter
- The One Google Plus Feature Facebook Should Fear
What happened was: not much, for a long time. But at a certain point, enough people had joined that suddenly when something got passed around, it activated a lot of dormant profiles, and suddenly aunts and moms were joining Facebook in Brazil.
The point – if I may theorize about it – is that once a social network reaches a critical number of people, the tipping point, its activity becomes impossible to ignore. Humans seem built to listen to news, especially bad news (sometimes in the form of satire). We also want to be included. We want to be where the action is. We don’t want to miss out.
Google Plus may look lame right now – insufficient penetration – but it may be insidious… lying in wait.
The point is that Google Plus doesn’t have to beat Facebook now. It can’t. But just because it doesn’t win in the first few months doesn’t mean it won’t suddenly become a thriving social network in six months or a year. All they have to do is hit that critical mass of users. And THEN it’s a matter of functionality and fun and all that other jazz.
In fact, check out what Wikipedia says about the technology lifecycle. Sounds a lot like what happened to Compuserve, and AOL, and Netscape, and Yahoo, and… who’s next?