Google+ is not a social network, says Google exec

Gundotra views Google+ as a Google 'upgrade,' and more than just a Facebook rival

By , Computerworld |  Internet, Google, Google+

"This is a great example of moving the goal posts while the football is in the air," Olds said. "Google didn't do much to scotch these comparisons when Google+ was being rolled out, but now, a year later, Google+ suddenly isn't like Facebook at all? It's major-league and masterful spin, but I don't think it holds water."

He added that just because Google+ is being integrated across product lines, that doesn't change what it is at its core.

"It's still a social network at heart," said Olds. "Google+ is still a service that gives users a chance to share and connect with others, and that's what social networks do. If you take the social networking out of Google+, then it's just a console, right?"

However, Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner, pointed out that Google has never come out and said that it's focused on competing with Facebook.

"I think the sentiment over the statement is correct," he added. "They may not be competing over a social network as a pillar of a business, but certainly they are competing for consumer mindshare on technologies like search, location and mobile."

And Blau also noted that Google is smart to make all of its products more social because that will bring in more information and, in turn, more money for Google.

"Maybe what you are seeing is a change in definition of what it means to be a social network," said Blau. "The direction you are seeing with Google is the natural direction for how social will be integrated into consumer technology, and enterprise too. It will be a feature versus a stand-alone product."

However, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said he's not buying that Google doesn't think Google+ is a social network.

"This talk is nothing more than clever product repositioning," he said. "Gundotra realizes now they cannot compete head-to-head with Facebook or Twitter, so he is attempting to change the playing field and lower expectations for everyone.... Google+ is a social network so long as it is a meeting place where users share their experiences, likes [and] dislikes, and others respond as if it's a virtual conversation."

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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