Kai-fu Lee: Zuckerberg Should Place Emphasis on Google+

Kai-fu Lee, Google’s former vice CEO, recently wrote an article to express his views on Google+. He agreed that Google+ is an excellent product and Zuckerberg and his Facebook should place great emphasis on Google+.

He analyzed Google+ from different levels

  • As an online social application, Google+ is great and has been praised by many Internet observers. In addition, the UI of Google+ was designed by Andy Hertzfeld and he borrowed various functions from Facebook, Twitter and even Weibo.com. All those functions were integrated into Google+ wonderfully. Some excellent functions include: integrate multiple functions;better mobile application than Facebook, especially on Android system; handy friends management with the concept of circles
  • Sharing more easily; Better chat function, especially the video online communications
  • Each online Google service can be integrated into Google+ easily. Gmail, Youtube, search, maps, Picasa and Docs have all been integrated into Google+. For the Google services heavy users, Google+ can provide more convenient way for its users to have access to all the Google products. Google changed the top menu into black specially for Google+
  • In the first ten days after Google+ was released, the number of users has reached about 10 million, which is beyond imagination. Only the servers of Google can support this fast growing number. Furthermore, many famous people are now using Google such as Robert Scoble, Bill Gross, Danny Sullivan, Kevin Rose and Guy Kawasaki.
  • On the aspect of technology, machine learning and data mining have given suggestions on circling friends. Google has great advantage in providing better search, sharing and findings. With the search recording and search habits, Google can optimize the user experience and options.
  • In this year, Google binds the employee bonus with the market share of its social service, which shows the determination of Google on the success of Google+
  • Google would use more opening API and favorable terms to attract the third part developers from Facebook such as Zynga. In addition, Google would sell the social products and other products to the advertisers together.
  • As of now, Google has almost 20 billion dollars in cash and has expressed that it would not care the profitability in a quarter. Everyone can’t ignore this large sum of money, with which Google can promote Google+ and acquire other companies.
  • Google is an opening company and it hopes that all the internet companies should be open. Google can search and organize all the information only on the opening internet. Facebook is a sealed company, which hopes to create value through making use of its own sources. Just because of the strong of Facebook, Google can’t index the content of the largest site on the world, which in turn can influence the searching experience and integration of Google search engine. Therefore, Google hope to force Facebook to become more opening with Google+.

Of course, Google also faces many great challenges

  • It is too late for Google to release Google+. Now Facebook has 0.7 billion loyal users and has become the platform of many applications. Advertisers begin to promote themselves by building their enterprise pages on Facebook. Would it be later for Google+?
  • The design of Google+ is wonderful. However, a successful social community can’t be built within only one step and it requires careful management and continuously change of content following the feedback of the users. Some say that Google+ is a good carpenter and building a social community is like planting a tree, but carpenter can’t make a tree with his handicraft. Just take Facebook for example; its success comes from the continuously small change gradually. From Harvard students who were allowed to sign in Facebook with their real names, to students in Ivy League colleges, to all the colleges students, to high school students, to companies and last to all the people, every stage for Facebook was a process to learn. In addition, it is a long time for Facebook to achieve today’s success. The number of Google+ users reached 10 million or even 100 million in short time, is there enough time for Google to solve all the problems? Can Google notice all the feedbacks from so large number of users? We can see the similar situation from the development of Stack Overflow and Yahoo Answer.
  • Google+ has gotten support from Google fans and geeks. However, those users may not be seeded users. Geeks only like the wonderful design but may not have fully formed social circles. Therefore, the original users of Google+ may not be able to communicate with the ordinary users well and create some excellent contents on Google+.
  • From the statistics of http://socialstatistics.com, we see that male users of take up 87 percent and female users only take up 11 percent, which can hamper the development of Google+ in future.
  • There are enough reasons either for the success or for the failure of Google+. The best situation for Google+ is that it can challenge the supremacy of Facebook, while the worst end is that Google+ could only become a community for geeks.

Therefore, Zuckerberg and his Facebook must attend much attention on Google+. Kai-fu Lee thinks that the users would be the winner at last. Google+ provides another way for the users. In addition, Google+ would force Facebook to become opening and improve its own service.


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