Top 5 Reasons Why Google+ Failed
Have you ever downloaded an app, used it for a couple of minutes and uninstalled it? Have you ever registered for a social media platform, but did not feel like staying on it as it was confusing? Every one of us goes through such situations, right?
According to statistics, 80% of software products fail. Now, the question arises — why do these software products fail? There could be numerous reasons — unqualified team, insufficient sales and marketing, poor technology or poor execution. But, the main reason why the software products fail is because of failure to understand customer’s needs and to solve their problems.
A recent example of a failed software product is Google+. As you know, Google's products are superior in technology, but then why did Google+ fail? It did not fail because it had an unqualified team, insufficient sales, and marketing prowess, or poor technology, but because it failed to understand customers’ wants and needs.
Reasons Behind Google+ Failure
1. Concept of Google+
The concept of Google+ was that they wanted users to share everything, i.e. emails, tweets, photos, videos, and thoughts. But that is not what users wanted. Users wanted to just connect with others on a social networking platform without having to think about what they are sharing with others.
There was already a platform, namely Facebook whose popularity was growing at that time when Google+ came out. But, Facebook clearly mentioned the users’ tasks, it just connected people with their friends. But in the case of Google+, users could only connect with people on Google+, Gmail and YouTube. It was very difficult for people to connect with other platforms. So, the concept itself of Google+ did not work.
2. Google-centered platform
The predominant feeling of Google+ was that it was created for their internal employees and then put out for the external users. It seemed that this product was the Google-centered design. It was supposed to do everything at the same time, but people did not want to do that.
3. Poor user experience
The other aspect was the user experience of the product itself. The concept of circles was really good, that’s how we, as people think — my inner circle, outer circle. But, then it was very confusing to put people in the circle and get them out of the circle. People also did not know what were they sharing with their circles. Therefore, though the concept of circles was great, it did not work very well.
Sharing of posts and images was very difficult. Even after sharing the posts, users did not find them easily. Also, users who got used to another platform like Facebook, why would they actually get all of their photos from that platform to Google+? This is what Google really needed to think about — whether their product was enough differentiated?
4. No differentiation
Another example is Snapchat that had a differentiated value proposition in the fact that images and posts disappear after some time. One more example is Instagram where people could continuously see others’ feeds. These platforms have actually captured the users’ needs very succinctly and precisely. Whereas, Google+ was all over the place and sharing of different posts and photos was very difficult.
5. No mobile experience
Google+ did not have a mobile experience. According to a statistic, for the social network, 90% of user sessions on Google+ were less than 5 seconds. This tells a story that Google+ has really failed to understand users’ needs and wants.
Google+ failed to satisfy users’ expectations and make the product user-friendly. This is where user-centered design could have helped Google+ a lot. Instead of focusing on the technology, if they could have focused on applying user-centered design principles and on capturing users’ latent needs and differentiated the product, Google+ was a superb product.
To sum up, only a strong technology may not work for social platforms. It has to have a great concept, it should understand users’ behaviors and needs, and it also should cater to the user’s experience.