But I believe they are overlooking a very large hairy point: do not underestimate an opponent playing the long game.
The long game is always the smart play. And it takes patience and fortitude to get there.
When Chairman Mao Zedong was asked by a journalist in the 1950's what he thought of the effects from the French Revolution he said "it is too soon to say". His answer illustrates the current analysis of the Facebook vs. Google war. That this is nothing less than a long term power struggle for the ownership of the social web. And it won't be concluded for some time.
Twelve features of the Google+ long game:
- Google+ is a force multiplier. Google does not see Google+ as separate product, it IS the product. The social layer that sits across the entire portfolio, is the new oil that is lubricating the entire Google project.
- There are people who don't use Facebook. I have friends who missed the boat on Facebook who have come to Google+ for brand reasons: they are more comfortable and familiar with the Google experience.
- Google+ will develop into a compelling user experience beating Facebook's slightly organic and unyielding chaos of activity. Recent UX design changes across the product portfolio is just the start of Google flexing its superior UX design skills.
- New features will pull in rich content creators who will pull in new users. Photographers have already flocked to Google+ because of its great image functionality and presentation format.
- The separation of search and social has officially ended. The seamless integration of social signals into search is the real prize. Social discovery leads to social commerce which leads to $$$.
- They have a warchest of over $40bn to endure a long testing campaign.
- Rumoured launch of a Flipboard competitor will set alight the content wars. Social magazine apps and devices will just be another incentive to bring in users, helping to curate your Google+ footprint in a way Facebook hasn't done yet.
- Their 80/20 policy will continue to deliver winning product innovations. Chrome, Gmail and You Tube are killer products, but imagine applying a concentrated 20% to 'social' and seeing what happens. We have barely seen the beginning.
- The ability to segment followers via Google+ circles will be a catalyst for achieving real Social CRM and therefore social business models.
- Hangouts offer so many opportunities for smart brands. It will be a boon in B2B and for smaller businesses in particular, perhaps revitalising local business along the way.
- Google Wallet and Google+: say hello to mobile social commerce via your Android enabled phone.
- Direct Connect is a small iteration that will pay out big dividends for brands.
The date of brand pages being launched will go down in history as one small borderline skirmish in the larger battle of harnessing the social web. But in a way Google+ is a complete ruse, a fog on the battlefield, while behind the scenes Google Inc is being reorganised into a social operating system for the 21st century. A structural brand shift, that like the French Revolution, will take a long time to complete.
So there you have it. A few reasons why I think Google+ is here to stay and why we won't really see the consequences for some time.
Ignore Google+ at your peril.
(Image credit: Liberty Leading the People, Eugene Delacroix)