Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Is Google+ Really a Social Network?

By Dennis D. McDonald

In Google has missed the social era, again, with Google+ Stowe Boyd predicts that, because real utilization of Google+ as a social platform has been underwhelming despite Google’s release of deceptively positive statistics, in 2014 Google will start to separate out Google+ component services (e.g., Hangouts) so they aren’t tied down to buy-in of the Google+ platform.

Boyd’s view is pretty much what I have concluded without those numbers. Even though I prefer and regularly use Google+ as a social platform I have to agree with his prediction. Where Google went astray was in paying more attention to Google+ as the glue that holds all Google services and their stickiness together in support of advertising, rather than make it easier to use Google+ as a really kick-ass social service. For example, Google+ Circles and Communities are still cumbersome to manage and I also prefer using Google+ via my iPhone simply because it’s easier to navigate.

What this reminds me of is the CIO who spends so much time and attention on total infrastructure rearchitecting that individual opportunities for providing value to users get passed up because new offerings don’t yet fit. Meanwhile, other more specialized services come forth and eat at the IT department’s service monopoly, despite the CIO continuing to push for the (eventual) “bright new day” where everything works together. 

Eventually management notices the disparity. So it will be with Google. This will be accelerated if advertising revenue starts to flatline and pressure emerges within Google to start charging for (or drop) individual services that are currently subsidized by advertising. Stuff like Glass and driverless cars won’t help the situation. Nor will a walled-garden-in-disguise that pretends to be a social networking tool.

Thanks to Steve Dale on Google+ for bringing Boyd’s GigaOm article to my attention!

Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. who loves using Google services and Google+ on a variety of platforms including Windows, iOS, Linux, and Kindle Fire. Dennis is an independent consultant based in the Washington DC area. He has worked throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Egypt, and China. In addition to consulting company ownership and management his experience includes database publishing and data transformation, integration of large systems, corporate technology strategy, social media adoption, statistical research, and IT cost analysis. His web site is located at and his email address is Reach him by phone at 703-402-7382.

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The Changing Culture of Big Data Management

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