Maybe Google knows it's never going to top Facebook at the social game, because when asked, its description of Google+ makes very little sense! AllThingsD chatted up Google+ exec Bradley Horowitz, and he sounds... confused.
Case in point: on the matter of Plus versus Facebook, Horowitz contradicts himself wonderfully: "We will compete on features—including simplicity. We are absolutely in a feature race, and I think we will run that race." He then goes on to say Plus' users aren't "looking for an alternative to anything, they're looking for a better experience on Google." Maybe that's why Horowitz says he's only going to run the race against Facebook, not win it? And how, I'm curious, do you race on simplicity? Is the finish line a blank page? If so, Google+ is in the home stretch.
But they're proud of their ghost town—in fact, it's what Google+ is meant for, Horowitz claims. "Private sharing"—you know, the stuff on the service that nobody can see nor verify—is Google+'s lifeblood. And it's "trending up"! So why get in a sprint against Facebook, for whom privacy is anathema, if you pride yourself on the echo chamber? More to the point, who'd ever want to join an echo chamber? What's the appeal of a social network that eschews social? Who am I sharing with? Myself? We want a houseparty, not a hermitage, and if Google's gunning for nothing but simplicity and privacy, well get nothing but a shuttered white box. Where's the utility in that? If I want sharing so private that it can barely be detected, I'll just email it to you or something. Facebook might go too far in its push to make the universe friends with itself, but it succeeds at keeping you in touch with humans—even if it does so as a glut.
Horowitz doesn't care, but says only that emphasis Google+ places on the inner void is the reason it's unduly criticized. Quoth AllThingsD:
Horowitz asked for observers to have a little patience while Google+ is being built, saying the project was never intended for such a large audience or so much scrutiny at this stage.
Of course. That's why they opened it up to the entire internet, and literally put a giant arrow pointing to it on the front of the most popular website on the entire internet.
So is Google+ supposed to be a competitor, a social athlete, or a private citizen, sheltered from scrutiny while Google continues to pick out its clothes? If it doesn't know, we sure don't. [AllThingsD]