Google+ may have a plus sign attached to its name but it’s still missing crucial features that hold it back from taking the lead. There are many opinions on what Google+ is lacking, and for these purposes I’m comparing two of them: Launch blog’s The Google+ Punch List (21 Items Google Must Add to Plus) and 7 Facebook Features Google Plus Still Lacks. The first goes into an account of not only what the author (whose name I did not see or he would be mentioned here) sees as missing but what actual Google+ users would like to see. Meanwhile, the other list, by David Cohen, is more direct and concise. While these lists differ, there are certain points they both agree must be present. Perhaps the most obvious thing that Google+ is missing is a search feature. It’s one of the main ways a user can discover content, opinions and even reviews. Basically, search is part of the glue that would connect this network’s users. Google being the search engine giant it is, can it really afford not to integrate search into Google+? Sending Google+ users to Google to find answers is ridiculous. Both of them also agree that an Application Programming Interface (or API) is essential, but for different reasons. Launch blog points out the threat of hackers, while Cohen focuses on Google+’s compatibility with other applications, such as Foursquare. The fact that there is more than one reason Google+ needs an API says it all.
‘A birthday widget,’ as Launch blog calls it, and ‘events and birthdays,’ as Cohen calls it, are also seen as a necessary add. What they forget to mention is that this is another feature Google has but chooses not to integrate. As a former member of a college group that used Google Calendar, I know it exists and that it allows people to plug their schedules in and share them with other people. This is where Google+ is making one of several big mistakes. Humans need reminders and a place to keep everything straight. Google Calendar is that feature and why it is not part of Google+ is a mystery to me. Brand pages are also a competitive feature Google+ still lacks. Google+ has a lot of unique opportunities for brands, but Facebook still leads because Google+’s brand pages are still in development. There is a place for brands on Google+ and the sooner they make space for them, and give them the kind of tools that Facebook does, the better. While they converge on these points, neither is a complete list of what Google+ is missing that Facebook already has and is doing better. Despite Google+’s lag, Facebook still feels the heat because it recently launched a small business service explaining how to utilize all of Facebook’s marketing tools (ads, deals, social plugins, sponsored stories, etc.) http://on.mash.to/pRXzDY. According to Digital Media’s Steven Musil, Facebook may not have much to fear after all, as they see Google+’s traffic dropping http://cnet.co/na6cnX. Perhaps this is just a lull, or perhaps it is indicative of Google+’s buzz leveling off for good. Whether Google+ could ever succeed in conquering Facebook, even with the additions mentioned above, remains to be seen. For now, Google+ might want to rethink that + at the end of its name.