Google Plus’ success is inevitable. The only thing that might stop it is a Department of Justice injunction.
Product distribution is the most significant challenge for any consumer product. Startups use viral loops, friend referral programs, coupons, and mobile app store promotions to acquire users. Often, startups raise money to scale customer acquisition. Google Plus doesn’t have this challenge.
Google Plus has the biggest running head-start of any consumer product in history. Plus is found on every Google search result page and in every Gmail inbox. Plus is on Android phones; 130M sold to date, adding half-a-million daily. Google Chrome sports Plus sharing buttons, available as an extension to the 160M users of the browser. How far away is +1’ing a YouTube video? You can’t avoid the little red number tugging at users’ curiosity. Google Plus is everywhere.
Not limited to consumer products, Plus will assail 40M captive Google Apps for Enterprise users. One day, Plus will appear for these customers. Students, startups, businesses large and small rely on Google Documents and GMail to operate their businesses. Jive, Yammer and Chatter have built enterprise social networks that stand apart from most corporate infrastructure. On the other hand, Google Plus is just a click away.
Whether users try Plus at work, at home on their PCs, tablets or phones, they will try it. Not many will stick with the fledgling network. But social networks have a magic number. Anecdotally, I understand it’s seven. If I have seven friends using a social network, chances are great that I’ll join too.
Seven users isn’t that many. And because those seven users could come from any number of sources (mobile, email, enterprise software, search, video), Google Plus doesn’t need a very good conversion rate to active user. Though I’m sure Plus product teams are toiling to improve these funnels.
While Google hasn’t been very successful with many consumer products, recently shuttering Notebook, Aardvark and Labs, Google Plus is a company wide initiative with the highest priority and with mammoth distribution muscle. That’s why I’m investing in building a Google Plus presence.
NB: I’m speculating in this post. I have no special knowledge of Google Plus product plans.