Discussion: Social networks, Google+, Facebook, fragmentation, and interoperability


The video below shows an interview of me on ABC TV that was made over a month ago, though it aired just last week. Here is the full program of The Consumer Quarter, from which this interview is taken.

The focus of the segment was to look at the impact of the launch of Google+ on social networking as a whole, including the possible negative impact of too much choice for social network users.

A few of the points I made in the interview:

The social networking industry consolidating in most countries around the world to Facebook as the dominant social network has supported social network growth. It is a more compelling proposition when friends are all on the same platform rather than spread across several.

There is the potential for the launch of Google+ to fragment what has become a fairly consolidated market, making it harder for consumers, however overall it is healthy for the social networking industry.

A key factor in the evolution of the industry is social network interoperability, which allows people to move their social network profiles from one network to another. Progress on that front has been slow but incremental over the last years, however Google+’s position from the outset allowing members to export their profiles will support that shift.

Google+ has been the fastest growing technology platform in history, tapping Google’s existing strength, however the jury is out on whether it can gain the critical mass to replace Facebook for people’s personal networks.