Google+ is on a pretty quick growth trajectory for a new social networking service, with more than 10 million users signed up in just a few weeks since the launch. Even so, it has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook, which just announced last week that it has 750 million users. Google CEO Larry Page is nonetheless convinced that his company’s nascent social network will eventually prove to be a major competitor in the social space.
Toward the end of the company’s second-quarter investor call on Thursday, Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente asked how Google+ will be able to win over users from more-dominant social networks like Facebook. Given years of photos, videos and other activity invested by users on a social media platform, DiClemente posited that there are high “switching costs” involved in making the move from one network to another. So what makes Page think Facebook users will do so?
“We’ve been really excited about Google+ really improving the overall social experience and making it more like sharing in real life, and that’s really a different product than is out there now,” Page said. “We’re getting rave reviews for that. People like being able to share with more discreet groups in an easy way and an intuitive way.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might disagree. While his company was making its “awesome announcement” around Skype video chat last week, Zuckerberg reminded the press that Facebook users have the ability to segment their friends into groups — but it’s a feature that only a very small number of power users actually take advantage of.
In addition to Google+ Circles, Page noted the social platform’s integration with other Google products. For instance, its integration with photos on Android devices. “We have a really great photo experience on Android that lets you take a picture on Android, and you have the Google+ client that uploads your photos automatically. It’s super easy to share them and post them to your friends or your family,” Page said.
Finally, Page noted that there’s no actual lock-in when uploading photos into Google+ and other services, taking a swipe at problems that some Facebook users have noted while trying to remove photos and other data from the service. “Google as a company believes in users owning their own data and being able to use it and take it out of Google. Some of our competitors don’t believe in that, but we think that users will eventually move to services that are in their best interests and will work really well for them.”