Google is determined that its social offering Google+ will be able to go toe-to-toe with social networking titan Facebook.
According to Google executives, the California-based internet giant’s products will be increasingly woven into the fast-growing Google+ social networking platform. This, the executives said, would make joining the network irresistible.
“We are in this for the long haul… By Christmas you will see Google+ strategy coming together.”
Since opening up to the public Google+ has attracted some 40-million users to the social network. While its growth has been impressive, it still has a long way to go if it is to catch up to Facebook’s 800-million or so users.
User numbers spiked when the network opened to the public. In the weeks since, however, activity on the social network has stagnated fairly significantly.
In the coming days, programs offered as online services at Google Apps will reportedly work with Google+ accounts. Accounts on the social network will also eventually synch with other popular offerings such as YouTube, said Google.
In what seems to be an effort at addressing the criticism levelled at Google+ in a recently leaked memo, the internet giant plans to eventually open its social networking platform to outside developers to make games and other kinds of installable “apps” that have been part of Facebook’s success.
Touching on another of the criticisms levelled at the social network Gundotra added that people will be allowed to use pseudonyms on Google+.
When the social network launched with the requirement that people use their real names it was in a bid to make people easier to find, executives said.
“We wanted this to be a product where you can discover people you know,” Gundotra said. “You don’t know ‘Captain Crunch’ or ‘Dog Fart’.”
Gundotra acknowledged that Facebook has the advantage of a “network affect,” in that complex webs of friends are established there and people might find it daunting to up and relocate to Google+.
“The incumbent has a huge advantage,” Gundotra said. “If you play the same game, you are not going to win… So we are going to do it differently.”
For Google+ differently means giving users more power over what they share and with whom.
“We do not believe in over-sharing,” Gundotra said.
“There is a reason why every thought in your head does not come out your mouth… We think a core attribute to being human is to curate.”
At the summit it was also revealed that some prominent members of the Google team had doubted the potential of Google+.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that he initially thought Google+ was too complicated, but has come to like the online community that lets users create “circles” of contacts depending on intimacy.
“I have connected with friends who I haven’t touched base with in a while,” Brin said at the summit.
“I wasn’t able to do that with existing services because of the way the sharing models worked,” he said in an indirect reference to social networking king Facebook. “It just didn’t work for me.”