Why Google+ has the potential to replace Twitter AND Facebook

by Kelly Thomas Reardon

Google+ has been making waves (pun intended) the last couple of weeks by letting invite loopholes get abused for a bit, closing them, and opening them again as users clamor to get onto the search-giant’s newest social media endeavor. Google+ looks to be different than Buzz & Wave by actually being used by people instead of sitting idly by. Even that first evening I got an invite, in ten minutes I had more people on Google+ than I’ve ever gotten on Buzz or Wave. But can it really compete with Facebook? I think not only will it do that, it may compete with or eliminate Twitter as well.

Now, before you call me crazy, think about what Google has done with the Circles in Google+. Circles let you sort out your friends/followers into different groups, which Facebook also does. What Circles does is let you combine Facebook status updates with Twitter tweets by directing updates at certain groups (Facebook style updates) or to the public (Twitter style). They even have a default Circle named “Following” that is obviously for people whose updates you want to see, but you don’t want them seeing yours yet (like following someone on Twitter, but them not following you back).

If Google+ really starts to get users to combine their Twitter streams and Facebook streams, that’s when the tide could turn against Twitter & Facebook. I’m actually hoping that this happens. It would give me just one place to watch and interact with instead of three (Twitter, Facebook & FourSquare). Granted, for those of us that enjoy the anonymity of Twitter as opposed to the clear identification on Facebook, this may not work. But then again, that can all be solved with Circles. Don’t post anything to the Public group, but only to specific Circles.

I don’t doubt that this was Google’s goal with Google+ from the start, but getting there will obviously take some time. It will also take Google opening up an API for third-party applications to interact with Google+ like Twitter & Facebook have apps like TweetDeck.

What do you guys think? Can you see yourself moving from Twitter, Facebook & FourSquare to only Google+?