Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Google Plus and Unfair Advantages

Google Plus and Unfair Advantages

The best way to win in business (if not life) is to have what business school teachers call an “unfair advantage.” Although that sounds sleazy, it is really just an economic principle. Here’s an unfair advantage: “I’m the only one who has a basketball, so if all you guys on the court want to play basketball with my ball, you have to let me play, too.” In fact, the whole net neutrality argument is all about unfair advantage: if your ISP is a big cable company, it has the power to make it much easier for you to watch through cable TV and not so much through Hulu. (Depending on government regulation.)

OK, now that we got that out of the way — what does this all have to do with Google Plus?

1) My invite is through my lunametrics email, but I understand that you can get at it through your gmail. I assume it is just like Gtalk — sitting there on the side of your gmail. Gmail is the third most popular email service in the US (sorry, international folks, no data), according to Hitwise’s report from last week (July 2, 2011) . So Google has easy access, or more correctly, you millions of gmail users have amazingly easy access to Google Plus.

2) Google has been rolloing out their black bar on various properties (such as search and maps and you guessed it, Plus.) So in many different Google services, your plus profile is available, as is the red notification at the top, mentally nagging you to do things like assign people to circles.

3) And to take it all round trip, the Google +1 button (not to be confused) is now enabled for every search results when you are signed in to Plus , somewhat annoying on search, but it probably leads to way more +1 than I could have expected.

So — Google has taken advantage of all their unfair advantages, such as their role in your gmail, your search, your maps, to really try to make Google Plus a winner. The fact that the product manager, Surfer Boy, and his amazing team did an amazing job with the product, if not with the product name, helps enormously. That, however, is “just” great design and engineering, a topic for a different post.

And remember, there is nothing unfair about an unfair advantage.

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