Google’s long awaited social network project, Google+, has been recently released to lucky few, while the rest of the world willing to try the “not Facebook but like Facebook” new kid on the social front are bound to wait. While in most cases restricting your beta release to a restricted group might be a bad idea, in Google’s case it seems to be working great.
Browsing my Google Reader today (yes, my online life is completely dependant on Google), I saw a quite a lot of stories on how to get invites faster, news roundups including the Google announcement, reviews, good or bad, and everything in between. While some proclaim Google+ another failure at getting the social concepts right from the search giant, others are already focusing on the features and how to leverage this new networking channel. Bottom line, the Google+ project keeps getting lots of coverage.
Even if some were not that interested in trying a new social site after finally getting the hang of Facebook and Twitter, the fact that they can’t just access it at will does spike their curiosity. If you’re like me and want to try something before deciding if it works for you or not, then you’re probably also looking forward to getting to play with Google+.
One secret of social media sites is that while some fail and other succeed, they all attract Internet users who want to test them. People are looking for a shiny new toy or a new way to promote their business, but regardless of their reasons, they will try a lot of new comers. I know I tried FriendFeed, Plurk, Reddit, Mixx and other such websites when they showed up and never used them or stopped using them along the way. And there were hundreds of thousands like me.
Google is Google. We love to hate them and keep a close eye on everything they do. So launching something new that a lot of people do want to try (just for kicks or because they secretly love to hate Facebook just as much) and then restricting access is a plan bound to make people anxious and eager to get access even more. Sure, some will be alienated, but when the secret society turns into public access for everyone and anyone, there will be hordes rushing in to try it. Maybe more than half will call it quits after a few days, maybe they’ll stay. The initial strategy still works!