The last time I posted on this blog was to announce my eager anticipation of the life-changing Google Wave. Here we are 2 years later and Wave has totally replaced e-mail! Right? Wait, what? Support for Wave by Google is about to disappear and all further development will be done by the Open Source Community? That doesn't sound like a widely adopted revolution...
Google Wave had some great ideas, but it struggled with a lack of a simple, user-friendly interface that was both quick and intuitive. It tried to do too much too fast in a Twitter world.
Now, here we are. Google+ has been announced and released to a small group of demigods who hold their currently obsolete invitations ransom to the rest of the world who is dying to see how it works to they can tweet about it and let all their Facebook friends know how cool it is. And therein lies the problem. We've already chosen our drug of choice, and it's going to take an incredible first-time high to hook us enough to switch for good.
Google+ might have had a chance if it came out guns blazing, showing everyone what it could do. It could still have retained a semblance of exclusivity by using invitations - you can only invite 50 people a day to Google+. Of course, with that amount of invitations going out it would blow up pretty quickly. Then, assuming it had something really new and fresh to offer, it might keep its head above water long enough to win over a non-insignificant percentage of the Internet population.
Instead they're showing everyone what they've got without letting anyone use it. My prediction: before they can get a toehold on the Social Network market Facebook will identify the gems of usefulness out of Google+, implement those features themselves, and Google+ will be left on the side of the road like so much picked-apart carcass. I'm serious about this. Go to Google+, find your favorite new feature (aka one that's not already in place on Facebook), and see how long it takes for it to show up on Facebook. I bet the best ones are there before Google+ really opens up to the public.
Google was not the first ones to do online search, but they did it best and got in early enough to win the masses over. From where I'm standing, they're too late in the game and not hitting it hard enough to win this battle. I hope I'm wrong - I love Google - but I don't think I am.