Predictions 2012: Will Google+ be another ‘Buzz’ kill?

Part 2 in our series outlining IT World Canada’s editorial staff predictions for 2012 focuses on Google Plus. Will it flop like Buzz? or will it dominate as a social network?

Nestor Arellano, Senior Writer, IT Business: Where’s Google Plus going?

James Speedy, Staff Writer, ComputerWorld Canada: My prediction is Google Plus is going to be a lot bigger by the end of 2012 than it already is.

Shane Schick, Editor-in-Chief: Somebody in this office told me they thought it was going to be dead.

Dave Webb, Editor, ComputerWorld: A CTO at SAS. He didn’t say it’s going to be dead. He said it’s already dead.

Google+ features that will appeal to businesses.

Speedy: No, it’s going to be way bigger. They’re slowly combining it with all the other Google services. You’re not going ot be able to use any other Google services without having it tied into Plus. They’ve made stuff that you can’t live without now, like Google Docs and they made Google Reader and all these other apps, and it’s all going to tie into Google Plus eventually. It’s just there’s no reason to use it now.

Harmeet Singh, Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News: They’re doing it step-by-step, adding the brand pages slowly. It took a while, so people kept thinking, where is this element? I think it will be bigger by the end of 2012.

Speedy: Google Plus has a lot of elements of Buzz.

Jeff Jedras, assistant editor, Computer Dealer News: But Buzz failed to take off.

Speedy: Because Buzz was supposed to be the connection of where you can find the stuff in Google Reader, which is now exactly what Google Plus does.

Jedras: So it does the same thing that that failed thing did.

Speedy: No, because there are more elements of a social network. Google Buzz failed because it was one task.

Jedras: So it’s Facebook but it’s on my Gmail.

Speedy: I can’t discuss that if you’re just going to keeping trying to simplify it.

Jedras: I’m trying to understand. I’m on Google Plus, but I really don’t see the point. It has some elements of Facebook, but I’m already on Facebook.

Brian Jackson, Associate Editor, IT Business: It needs a killer feature to bring it above and beyond Facebook and Twitter. I feel like I’m going on Facebook and doing what I do there, and going on Twitter, and now I have to do that again on Google Plus?

Speedy: But the thing is they have so much time left. A, they’re Google, so they have all the money in the world. They can take as long as they want to do this. And when they slowly bring in these apps you have to use … they own Picasa. They’re eventually going to tie that in, and all these different apps that you use right now. It’s not what it can do now, it’s wh at it’s going to be able to do in the future.

Paolo Del Nibletto, Editor, Computer Dealer News: Are you part of the Google strategy team?

(Laughter and much indecipherable talking over each other)

Schick: I don’t know where it’s going for sure, but one thing that we know, where it could go in terms of killer feature, is an area that hasn’t been conquered, which is the business market. There are a number of businesses … where businesses have blocked social media for some reason and tried to recreate their own version of Facebook or their own version of Twitter and no one has really successfully done that in the business market. That could be an area where they could potentially have an advantage. My impression is that people who are using Google Plus are already using other social media services so they’re more savvy and know how to use it. If there’s a way to build that internally … a lot of companies are using Gmail now instead of Outlook. They could use that as their intranet.

Jackson: I don’t think a lot of companies are using Gmail instead of Outlook. I think maybe five per cent.

Schick: That’s a huge percentage compared to what it would have been a couple of years ago.

Jackson: But is it enough volume to get the sort of reach that … Google would want millions and millions of users to consider this a success … Prying Outlook out of the hands of business users has always been very difficult.

Schick: We’re considering it, just so you know.

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