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The biggest challenge facing Google+ (that nobody is talking about)

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Google+ faces dozens of major challenges as it tries to break into the social networking world. Facebook is a fierce and aggressive competitor now that just broke the 3/4 of a billion users mark. Google’s reputation based upon past social attempts is tarnished. A large portion of those who will be social networking in the next year are already doing so – there just aren’t a ton of people who are still “on the fence.”

These are big, but there’s a subtle challenge that Google has created for itself that is overlooked but still extremely important. Perhaps it’s not as big as the challenge of trying to launch a social network in 2011 (sort of like trying to come back in the 4th quarter of a football game down 5 touchdowns), but it’s worth noting.

The name, while catchy as some think it is, is hard to make into a verb.

  • When you search, you “Google it.”
  • When you’re saying something pointless in 140-characters or less, you “Tweet it.”
  • When you have a picture of a friend passed out on the sofa with pictures drawn on his face with a black marker, you “Facebook it.”

Are we going to “plus it” when we post something to Google+. Currently, you share on Google plus, but unfortunately that’s just too generic to make a difference. Compare:

  1. “Are you going to share that on Google plus?”
  2. “Are you going to Facebook that?”

If you’re thinking it’s no big deal, you may be right. More people say “I posted it on Facebook” rather than “I Facebooked it” but the sheer fact that the name has been converted unofficially to a verb is strong from a psychological perspective.

It may not be an earth-shattering, game-changing challenge, but it’s a challenge nonetheless and nobody’s talking about it (until now). Will this pose a problem for the success of Google+?

Google Plus Awkward

  1. I just call it G+. Even when I refer to Google Maps, I say “G Maps,” or, “just G map it” instead of “just mapquest it” like everyone used to say.

    I’ve actually never used Facebook as a verb, though. I also never heard anyone around me say it (or read it anywhere) until this post. I usually just say things like, “Post it on FB,” or to circumvent saying Facebook at all, I’ll just say “I’m going to make this my status.” Now though, I’ll definitely have to specify which site I’m referring to.

    1. Rich, I agree, always refer to things like: G Mail, G Docs, G Maps. Perhaps we won’t even need to say…

      1. Do people also tend to share things across various platforms/networks. I tend to split what I “post” and I know that some people can see the same thing on various networks, others only selected ones. Is it really a problem?

  2. I think that it would still fall under “googling” something or in this case, someone. I would be perfectly fine by saying that I posted something to Google.

  3. I remember back a few years when myspace was a hit with the kids. I was at the train station and I heard this teenage girl ask a friend “what’s your myspace” which sounded terrible… what is your my space…!

    anyway, that was no barrier to people referencing it. sure it failed in the end, but not because of that. it’s the popularity of the service that makes a verb of it’s name, no matter what that word is and for me “plus” has potential.

  4. I think it will still be, “I Googled it”.  Context will dictate meaning.  As for the market share comment… How many FireFox and Internet Explorer users jumped to Chrome? Answer: a lot and still growing.  If G+ turns out to be a superior product migration will happen.

  5. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    There is someone out there who will come up with something.

  6. ‘I geeplus’d it.’ (written is: I g+’d it)
    Well not as cool as ‘Tweeted it’ but way cooler than ‘I google plus’d it’.

    Apart from this, You can only make verbs from nouns like ‘Tweet’ – ‘I tweet sth.’ in english. And ~350 million people’s mother tongue is english but hey – facebook has more than 750 million users… This ‘Biggest Challenge’ won’t hurt G+ that much.

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