Google’s Social Network: Gmail
Google+ doesn’t make sense as a strategy. Its superfluous to Google’s existing assets. Why did Google need a Facebook-clone-like social network product? They already had an amazing social network in Gmail! I have 10x the social interaction inside of Gmail compared to Facebook.
Facebook has photo sharing, but Gmail gets all the really good photos of my family that the luddites in my network are unwilling to share on a social network.
Link sharing? Yep, Gmail’s got the covered too. That’s a primary use case for email: a recommended link with a two-line description.
Gmail has my address book and knows how frequently I communicate with each person. The social graph they could build from that data is stronger than Facebook’s social graph.
Best of all, it’s distributed. When I’m on Facebook, I can’t talk to my Myspace friends… but when I’m on Gmail, I can talk to my Yahoo Mail friends. It’s the Diaspora vision, just 20 years “back to the future.”
Why build Google +? Google already had everything they wanted right under their nose.
But what Google would have had a harder time doing with Gmail alone is convincing their users to give up their birthdate, gender, and other demographic data that an advertising company like Google must find particularly useful.