The Reading Room

Can Google+ end Facebook?

One in seven people on planet earth are now on Facebook. Surely Facebook is now part of our DNA as much as tea and coffee. It can’t be got shot off. That’s just the way it is. Right? Wrong.

If there is one thing we should know about the globalised world it is that things can be destroyed as quickly as they’re created. A decade ago Apple was nothing more than a cult brand going the same way as Atari. If you were lucky enough you’d glimpse its logo on T shirts worn by teenagers in Camden. But teenagers are now more likely to be listening to their apple ipod or downloading the finger piano App on their Apple iphone. Apple now has a higher revenue than either Unilever, Barclays Bank or Microsoft. Its logo gleams with all the corporate gloss of a Coca Cola or McDonalds on Oxford Street.

But for every Apple there is a Woolworths. It was on every high street corner in Britain and I thought children would forever dip their hands in the Pick n mix jars. But Woolworths has gone. Borders bookshop? Gone. HMV? Gone. And this week we learn that Habitat couldn’t keep up with change either and is also in administration. Even Myspace, the forerunner to Facebook, which was once bought by Rupert Murdoch for half a billion dollars, was almost gone. It was recently saved from administration by none other than Justin Timberlake.

So Google+ has just been launched. The early reviews say it is amazing. An inbuilt mechanism to video conference a friend or friends like Skype is something that facebook should have adopted months ago. Some say Zuckerburg has been spending too much time on podiums with President Obama and has taken his eye off the ball. Google+ also allows you to categorize your friends in groups (family, work, school friends etc). This means you can tailor your wall messages for different groups as you would do in real life. What about those that say Google have just come too late to the party. Google always comes late to the party but when they finally turn up it is with the flashiest car and the hottest girlfriend. Ask Jeeves anyone? Alta Vista anyone? What about Everyone use to have a hotmail account until gmail. Facebook may still rule the social networking world but all I’m saying is that the Larry Page and Sergey Brin often take their time and then unleash something that turns our lives upside down. PS

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