I came across this 2015 article in Mashable by Seth Fiegerman on why and how Google jumped into the Social bandwagon, created a non starter and sort of Me-too product, copying Facebook and lost the plot. It is a back story of how Vic Gundotra, then close to Larry page, built up a threat frenzy within where apparently none existed (at this point FB was valued at 14B and Google 200Bn – not any more). Although the security lapses gave the immediate reason for Google to decide on shutting down G+ the broader issues, primarily of non adoption, and blowback for coercion ( remember when you had to have a G+ account to sign into other Google services?) hastened the end.
My takeaways –
1. You need original thinking to compete. Google was original in its approach to search and it won the market from entrenched competitors.
2. Money alone, not matter how much can guarantee success – so even if you believe you can be late to a party, learn from the early entrants and blast them away with resources – it is unlikely to work.
3. You need to look to the future. Google had the opportunity to go Mobile and focus on messaging to beat Facebook, but they never saw it. My take is that the framing of the problem as “better Facebook” was the core issue. If ‘sharing’ alone was the focus one can see how many ways one can still skin Facebook.
At the point when the article was written G+ was still around. Read it for a quick overview on what went on behind the scenes.
Where I learnt it #207