Is G+ just not simple enough?

March, 2012

Earlier today I had a conversation about complexity of systems, and how simplicity is worth its weight in gold. Interesting stuff, mostly techie talk. But later when I was thinking about sites that go viral I put two and two together. Those sites that just explode – they have something very simple at their core. No wait:

Sites explode because they are nothing but a simple core.

Take Pinterest, it’s nothing more than a wall of things you pin. I mean, sure it’s gussied up a bit with ‘boards’, or whatever you call them. But really it’s just pictures on a wall.

It’s really just twitter, but you’ve replaced the status messages with interesting images. And wasn’t twitter really just youtube, but you’ve replaced the videos with statuses messages. Which was really just … wait, what did we waste our time on before youtube? I’ve digressed…

Now eventually complexity creeps in – you get rich media, you get links in and out, you get integrations. That’s fine, but if you want adoption you need A Simple Core.

These things originally go viral on because people get the idea in a few seconds. There’s no learning curve, the whole concept is laid bare before you in mere seconds. So what’s my point, it’s simple:

G+ is just too complex

No one is going to switch over for some incremental improvements – even if there are a lot of them. G+ is a very complex product because it is striving to replace several established social media outlets. These are outlets that have long ago gone viral and since then have matured in complexity.

But you can’t disrupt and go viral at the mature state – at least according to my wonderful Simple Core Theory™. You have to do something new, something truly innovative. You know what? For all the innovation that Google likes to talk about, I think they’re actually just really good at making Much Better mousetraps.

That works fine for business apps, which is why adwords wins. It’s why google analytics wins. But people don’t upgrade their social network for incremental efficiencies.

They want something new and exciting, maybe like Pinterest, but where you’ve replaced the interesting images with… well, I’ll tell you in six months when everyone’s ga-ga about the next big viral site.