I know I just wrote a post last week about the pre-launch of Google+1, but the latest bit of news that’s sprung up from the new social network venture was just to good to let pass by without a mention.
Let me preface this by saying that Google+ is still not available to the public, and only a small segment of users have been engaged by special invitation to trial the new service. So how is it then that the competition was invited to take a test drive?
Depending on your where you get your information, some sources are reporting that the eccentric CEO of Facebook already has 35,000 people following him on Google+–that’s about 10,000 people more than Google’s own co-founder Larry Page has. Now it’s not really that shocking to learn that the head-honcho of social media can attract this kind of following without batting an eye, but doesn’t this just seem a little weird?
Neither company has confirmed whether or not this profile is real, but the Zuckerberg account connections to Google execs seem to confirm the validity.
So was this some kind of play by Google to try and show everyone that even the co-founder of the largest social network in the world is willing to test the waters of the new service? I don’t know about that. Or is it a play by Facebook to show that regardless of who develops a similar social networking service, there is in fact only one dominant player—in fact so dominant that they can infiltrate and overshadow the competition within their very own service? Again, who knows.
Since history has a tendency to repeat itself I would venture to guess this is just Zuckerberg and Facebook feeling out the new service while doing a little chest pumping at the same time. They did it with Twitter a few years back, and like that exploration of the competition in 2009, they don’t seem they have any real interest in actually engaging an audience through Google+ But how did he get the invitation? $$$ Hard to say.
It’s certainly not strange for companies to keep an eye on the competition, but I have to admit this is slightly comical, and perhaps even a little embarrassing for Google, but that’s just a guess. Regardless of what all this means, if anything at all, it is clear that social sites and search engines will continue their exploration of how to improve human influenced search, empower users, embrace ecommerce, share information and engage the masses.
The truth is that these are the early stages of a long battle for control over the user experience, and one that ought to provide plenty of entertainment along the way. There’s no doubt that search and social will continue to expand, compete and even work in tandem for a long time to come. And that’s something to + about.