Mark Zuckerberg is said to have nightmares due to the rising popularity of Google+. Mark Zuckerberg must fast-track Facebook’s initial public offering now.
Rule No. 1 when launching a social network: Make everyone wait in line. Exclusivity was how, in its early days, Facebook built buzz. For more than two years, you couldn’t get in unless you had an email address ending in .edu. Google is using a similar strategy with Google+.
Facebook should take note that Google used the strategy before to kneecap Yahoo in all-important email, a key driver of Yahoo’s traffic. Then Google rolled out Gmail—but only by invitation at first.
Rule No. 2 is to deliver a better service. Adopting a new social network could prove similar to adopting a new email address: Many will try it out, but to keep using it, they have got to be given good reason. That Gmail offered significantly more storage space than typical Web mail meant millions were willing to make the switch. Similarly, Google+ offers upgrades on what many perceive to be Facebook’s shortcomings.
For starters, Google+ gives users a handy way to organize their social contacts into different “circles”—friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.—with which they can share appropriate things. Though Facebook now offers the option to create “Groups,” users broadcast their information to everyone by default.
Google+ also offers group video chats. That is why Facebook’s announcement of one-on-one video on Wednesday seemed to fall short. Facebook has yet to introduce group video chat.