The always on-point Tom’s Guide techblog (I’m old enough to remember when it was Tom’s Hardware) has a list of 10 reasons you’ll be on Google+ in a year. While I agree with the arguments presented, it’s a misleading title, because there are really only two reasons, it’s just that one of them is phrased nine different ways. That reason?
Google owns everything.
More specifically, between Gmail, Picasa, the remnants of Buzz, Google Reader, Chrome, Android, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Voice, Gtalk, Google Apps domains and — above all — Google Search, Google already has all the data and the platforms that Facebook is trying to connect and integrate. All Google has to do is steal a page from the classic Microsoft Windows playbook and “embrace and extend” all these distinct products into one cohesive social experience — and one that you simply can’t get away from on the contemporary version of MS Windows, also known as “the Internet.”
You can see this vision at work already with the Google-wide style redesign to match Google+ and the unification of Google’s privacy policies. Google is merging the underpinnings of all its products, and that means Google+ will be everywhere sooner rather than later.
So what’s the tenth/second reason we’ll all be on Google+ a year from now? The best reason, really: You can export all your Google+ data really easily. As Caleb Garling summarizes in the Tom’s report:
“Google has provided users with an obvious and quick way to export each aspect of your data: photos, profile information, stream data, Circles and Contacts. And should you so choose, you can click over to your Account Settings and, front and center, find the option to hide or delete your account.”
Pair that up with the ever-improving Google Takeout service, and Google at least appears to be approaching data liberation with serious and respectful intent. That’s a good thing, and while it almost certainly ranks dead last amongst the reasons why Google+ will give Facebook a real run for its social money, Google’s export options may be the slight edge it needs to ultimately win the social war.