Google+ Has a Hangout Problem: MySpace Is More Engaging

MySpace, once the dominant social network, is now generally held up as exhibit A of what goes wrong when technology fails to keep pace with user behavior. Even though the network waved the white flag as the place for friends some time ago and ceded its position to Facebook, it’s worth remembering that there’s still an audience there.

Likely drawn in by the musicians and bands that helped push the network into the mainstream in the first place, MySpace still offers something people want. Google+, for all of their brute force efforts, doesn’t seem to have that figured out yet.

“Users visiting from home or work computers spent an average of just three to four minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, according to comScore. In comparison, social networkers spent six to seven hours clicking around on Facebook each month during the same period.

Users also spent less time on Google+ during that period than they did on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Tumblr, and even Pinterest, according to comScore. While they spent an average of three minutes in January on Google+, users logged eight minutes on MySpace, 17 minutes on LinkedIn, 21 minutes on Twitter, and almost an hour and a half on both Tumblr and Pinterest. comScore’s data did not take into account visits from mobile devices.” {PC Mag}

Google’s spokespeople claim that their internal usage figures are much higher. While that’s more than possible – 3rd party  measurement tools can often miss large chunks of user activity – it’s also a strong possibility that Google is measuring usage differently. Clicked a +1 button in your search results? On an AdSense ad? That might be considered usage to Google even though it’s not actually activity on the network.

And that’s part of the problem. When we broke the news of Boutiques’ sharp decline (the project was eventually killed off), one of the things that was clear was that Google had no clear idea on what Boutiques wanted to be. That seems to have continued over to Google+, which is nice enough, but doesn’t offer any clear point of differentiation over other networks. Tumblr makes it easy to reblog; Pinterest makes it even easier for photos; LinkedIn is for professional networking; Facebook started off as a network of people you know and evolved to a place for sharing your interests with people you know; Twitter is for short public updates; MySpace is for music and the artists that make it.

And Google+? Well, it’s a little bit of all of those, but not enough of any of them to compel users to spend more time on the network.


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