The social networking movement has been one of the biggest e-trends in the past decade. Twitter and Facebook hold the reigns while smaller sites lag behind. Now Myspace, one of it’s founding fathers, is taking another ill-fated turn. Newscorp, Myspace’s current majority owner, is putting it on the chopping block once more. CNET said Newscorp sold Myspace to advertising company Specific Media for $35 Million today. The parent company, in addition, plans to lay off about 37% of it’s employees today according to Billboard.
Myspace’s perpetual fall coincidentally gives way to a new contender looking to connect people online in novel ways. Google recently unveiled Google+ Project: their latest foray into social networking. Mountain View made previous swings with Google Buzz and Google Wave to limited fanfare. So what makes Google+ different?
Going through all of Google+’s features is an article unto itself. However one of it’s biggest selling points is circles: enabling users to separate friends and contacts into customizable categories. That way you’ll be able to share those totally awesome flicks you took at your brother’s bachelor party without letting everyone on your friends list know. The concept video, while a little corny, makes categorizing friends look much easier than facebook’s methods of arranging friends. From there you can post and share articles, video/text chat with multiple people and organize events within different groups.
Myspace’s best days have long past but it remains to be seen if Google+ can be as popular as the former giant. The project isn’t freely available to the general public yet. Many of its features look like things we’ve seen from Facebook, Wave and Buzz put together in one space. Moreover its layout may feed into people’s narcissism even more than Facebook and Twitter: one of the underlying points continuing their popularity.
We should remind ourselves that everything from Google ain’t gold and people like familiarity. I wouldn’t be surprised if their latest initiative doesn’t catch on with a user base comparable to Facebook or Twitter since they’re well established and easy to use. Then again Myspace looked impenetrable as Facebook slowly gained ground in its early years. What’s more is Twitter’s been around since ’05 and just hit it’s stride in the past 2 and a half years.
Google+ could be on to something as their design choices directly address flaws in Facebook and Twitter’s makeup. The Google name also grants the + Project with more prevalence to get ahead. It remains to be seen if Google will be a force in bringing people together. What can be said is Google’s latest attempt, unlike previous endeavors, appears as much more than an afterthought.