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Google+: If, And, Then….Implications for Twitter and Tumblr

By - July 13, 2011

It’s hard to not voice at least one note into the Morman Tabernacle of commentary coming out of Google’s first two weeks as a focused player in the social media space.

I haven’t read all the commentary, but one observation that seems undervoiced is this: If Google+ really works, Google will be creating a massive amount of new “conversational media” inventory, the very kind of marketing territory currently under development over at Tumblr and Twitter. Sure, the same could be said of Facebook, but I think that story has been well told. Google+ is a threat to Facebook, but for other reasons. The threat to Tumbrl and Twitter feels more existential in nature. (Ian remarks on how Google+ feels like content here, for example).

Let’s look at a typical flow for Tumblr, for example. Most of the action on Tumblr is in the creator’s “dashboard.” Mine looks like this:

jbat twitter.png

As you can see, this is a flow of posts from folks that I follow, with added features and information on the right rail. I can take action on these posts in the dashboard, including reblogging them on my own Tumblr, which is, for the most part, a blog. A blog, like…Blogger.

Now let’s look at what my flow looks like in Twitter. I use the web app for the most part:

jbattwitter.png

Again, flow on the left, info and services (and ads) on the right. However, Twitter has no integrated blog like function, though I love using it as a platform to promote my blog posts (as many of you undoubtedly have noticed). Also, Twitter recently bought Tweetdeck, which organizes flow more along the lines of “Circles” in Google+, but more on that later.

Now, let’s look at my flow for my “Colleagues” circle on Google+. I choose “Colleagues” because it’s really the only one with content in it. My “friends” and “Family” are not really using Google+ yet. If those streams start getting traction, well, then we can talk about Facebook’s existential threats. But already, I am finding this stream useful:

jbatgoogleplus.png

Look familiar? Yeah, it sure does. Just like Tumblr’s dashboard, and Twitter’s main stream. Both those companies are focused now on how best to monetize this key “conversational media” content, and just as they are getting traction, Google comes along with a product that is nearly identical. However, there are important differences, and of course, Google has a massive advantage: Google+ is integrated into everything the company owns and operates.

I’ll be adding more to this post later tonight, but I wanted to get this idea out there. Later, I’ll go into the key differences, and also, map out the advantages Twitter and Tumblr maintain compared to Google+. My one thought to keep you going while I’m away: If Google+ works, and Google integrates all that conversational media inventory with its extraordinary advertising sales machine, there’s even more of a need for what I’ve come to call a truly “independent” and “conversational” media company. Twitter and Tumblr are not playing the same game as Google, and they’ll need to tack into the advantage *not* being Google provides to them.

More soon.


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5 thoughts on “Google+: If, And, Then….Implications for Twitter and Tumblr

  1. Martin says:

    I am in investor in Tumblr and I see what you mean. I guess the numbers will tell if you are right or not. Same with Twitter. But the site that I see as the closest competitor to Google+ at least in my own usage is Quora. Quora is a site populated with smart people who answer questions. Google+ is a site populated with smart people who engage in conversation around a subject.

  2. Stephen says:

    That was one of my first thoughts when I experienced Google+ that Tumblr was in trouble

    Still they have a community. I’m on it. My impression of it is more of photo and gif sharing, but not personal photos as much as interesting photos, magazine like photos, that people are posting from somewhere else. To get attention on a Tumblr to post, the photos need to be striking, extremely funny, or otherwise “headline” grabbing.

    Like Twitter, not a lot of personal feel to it, but fun, and I like Fred’s attitude that companies don’t kill other companies as much as companies kill themselves.

    But my main takeaway from Google+ is not so much the service itself, although it is great, as like you say, it’s integrated with all of Google’s other services. Google may be Germany, but the seem to be the one company of all of these that has all the pieces. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And that will be a powerful value proposition.

    It almost reduces Twitter and Facebook to applications on this vast Cloud OS, rather than platforms itself. And Apple, for all it’s wonder, doesn’t have a Cloud Syncing OS, much less a Social Network. I think Apple should buy Twitter and Facebook should merge with MSFT.

    The deep integration of Google+ with Android will be compelling and I don’t see the “app” for the iPhone as being as robust an experience as it will be on Android. This could be a long term threat too Apple as well if they don’t get their Cloud Offerings together.

  3. Tac says:

    It’s actually Mormon not Morman and to me G+ far more resembles Facebook now that they’ve started mimicking FriendFeed, post acquisition.

  4. Max says:

    Are there any modern social sites that DON’T allow users to display their friends’ posts in a timeline list?

  5. Tarek says:

    Very good post, I really like how you compared the three services from a UX point of view.

    I’d like to add to your argument, I am a fan of blogging myself, yet the problem with blogs is that there is a complete separation between following content and adding new one. There is no that twitter-like interface – you just wrote about – where you can both write new twitter status and follow tweets sent by your friends in the same page.

    I was expecting Google Reader to fill this gap, and was wondering if they can add the ability to write new blog posts from within there, yet now, it’s clear that Google+ is the the one who is gonna fill such gap. I’m waiting for more integration between Google+ and Blogspot and may be then blogs will come back to life again.