While Google+ has come under fire in some quarters for not being as successful as Facebook, Google CEO Larry Page had choice words himself on that competition. Facebook is doing “a really bad job” with its products.
Page didn’t expand on what exact products with Facebook were so bad, in the wide-ranging interview he had with Steven Levy at Wired. From the interview:
Wired: One area where people say that Google is indeed motivated by competition is the social realm, where in the past two years you have been working hard in a field dominated by a single rival, Facebook. That’s not the case?
Page: It’s not the way I think about it. We had real issues with how our users shared information, how they expressed their identity, and so on. And, yeah, they’re a company that’s strong in that space. But they’re also doing a really bad job on their products.
For us to succeed, is it necessary for some other company to fail? No. We’re actually doing something different. I think it’s outrageous to say that there’s only space for one company in these areas.
When we started with search, everyone said, “You guys are gonna fail, there’s already five search companies.” We said, “We are a search company, but we’re doing something different.” That’s how I see all these areas.
Levy went on to ask Page how he felt about Google+. Page responded:
I’m very happy with how it has gone. We’re working on a lot of really cool stuff. A lot of it has been copied by our competitors, so I think we’re doing a good job.
There’s a pretty good argument that a lot of what’s at Google+ is copied from Facebook, so that’s a surprising statement.
Hangouts were the most unique thing Google+ provided, when it launched into competition with Facebook. But things like the recently launched Google+ Communities? Those are similar to Facebook Groups. The “circle” concept at Google+ was also something that Facebook already had similar functionality for. It just wasn’t touted much, perhaps because people didn’t use it much.
Of course, you can likely make an argument that things on Facebook were copied from MySpace, or Friendster, or Orkut and on and on and on….
What is unique, no doubt, is that Google+ does go beyond being just a social network at Google. It continues to be interwoven into everything Google offers — and that’s what’s especially unique, Google’s ability to mine social signals directly linked with its own products.