Why Google+ can be a more efficient network to digitally connect humanity
With Google+, Google has built a more efficient framework to digitally connect human beings on an as yet unprecedented scale.
1. Google+ lowers the barriers to connecting, will lead to higher connection density: Let us define connection density of a human social network as the number of connections (both symmetric and asymmetric - Google+ allows both) in a social network, divided by the total world population (or alternatively, network members). As a member of Google+, I don’t have to think about whether or not to accept or ignore a one time acquaintance as a connection. The fact that I can define my own circles, and add people in more than one circles (akin to Gmail labels, rather than Yahoo mail/Outlook folders), will make it easier for me to accept rather than ignore loose/weak connections by default. I will do that by simply creating the right circle (e.g. “Claims we met, can’t remember”, or the proverbial “Other”, etc.). The complexity of managing circles across such a wide range of connections will be a challenge, but that is precisely a problem that the crowd-sourced innovation of a world wide developer community will solve.
2. Google+ lowers the barriers to communicating, will lead to higher communication density: Let us define communication density as the total number of one-one, one-many, or many-many posts/emails and chats that take place across the network, divided by the total world population. Google+ lowers the barriers to communication by giving me the tools to facilitate a very wide range of communications, because I have the ability to send targeted communication - i.e. to a very specific group of people to whom that communication will be most relevant. The better I get at managing and using my circles, and the more people that join the network, the lower the barriers for me to initiate all my communication, no matter what the nature (stuff we may post currently on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Personal Emails, Business Emails), from Google+.
And that leads by extension, to another interesting question: Can Google succeed in becoming THE gateway to my UNIFIED DIGITAL LIFE? This last point is a subject of pure speculation, but a tempting one, and a natural “what’s next?”. The answer will depend to a great extent on whether the mental overhead of managing all communications and digital experiences (such as managing my favorite music!) within Google+ will be lower than the mental overhead of keeping up with multiple networks/platforms, for multiple purposes. The fact is: Google already is or will soon have the dominant mobile OS, traditional search platform, and traditional email channel (which may get merged, as one of the communication types within Google+).
So, will Google+ really become THE new unified gateway to your digital life? Will we see the + fall off / dropped in a couple of years? Who knows really, but it seems all our lives might be heavily vested in the outcome!
p.s. a pointer to Larry Page and the Google team: to realize this vision of controlling my unified digital life, you will have to one-up Apple’s cloud music + iTunes match, Amazon’s Kindle/E-Books platforms. Hint: get better quick at building partnerships with channel partners/IP owners (why Google Health failed?), AND be ready to pay up to acquire the likes of Spotify, many times over.