Google+ Is Not A Social Network, Says Executive

A senior Google executive has raised a few eyebrows after he denied that Google+ is a social network.

The extraordinary claim came in response to a question posed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“Google+, for us, is not a social network,”  Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer was reported as saying. “It is a platform which allows us to bring social elements into all the services and products that we offer.”

Not Social Network

“So you have seen YouTube come into Google+; you’ve seen Google+ with ‘direct connect’ go into our search business,” he added. “We are trying to make sure we use social signals across all of our products… It’s not just about getting people together on one site and calling it a social network.”

Google’s Arora was speaking at the Monaco Media Forum, and was vague when asked by the Telegraph, whether Google+ was a direct competitor to Facebook.

“I am sure there are some features on Google+ which compete with some features on Facebook,” he reportedly said.

However Arora’s belief that Google+ is not competing with Facebook seems at odds considering some of the comments from Facebook about the new kid on the block. In August Sean Ryan, Facebook’s director of game partnerships, said that Google+ has no users and that it lacked originality.

Information Sharing

Google’s Arora meanwhile explained how in the the future, users are likely to provide much more personal information about themselves and their preferences to internet companies, if they are to take full advantage of social networking services.

“Clearly there is a fine line about this [how much information to share with web companies],” Arora said. “There is a huge conversation around how much information… is OK to store with any one company and what should be out there on the web.”

“And that’ s the choice we are going to have to make as consumers based around trust and convenience. [We can say] I trust you [a web company] to have this information about me because you are going to make it convenient for me to use a service and I don’t trust you to have other information,” he said.

Updated +1 Button

Google+ was launched in late June and quickly gathered 20 million members. However by October Google revealed this had grown to 40 million users, and such is its popularity, that at least one financial analyst is calling for the fledgling social network to add another 20 million users in the fourth quarter, boosting membership to more than 60 million users.

Facebook meanwhile has an estimated 750 million users, but in comparison it took Mark Zuckerberg’s outfit ten months to reach just one million users, way back in 2004.

Google+ does share some similarities with Facebook such as its +1 button, Google’s version of Facebook’s Like button. In August the +1 button was updated to allow users to share webpages they like by pressing the button.

And now Google has added +1 button to its image searches, to allow Google+ users to express their appreciation of a particular image.

Over the past few months, the +1 button feature has also appeared next to news articles, on websites and even in adverts.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

View Comments

  • I don’t think it matters how many times Google+ says it is not competing with Facebook, the public will always think the brand is trying to battle it out with them to become the dominant internet giant.
    Katie Leaver, LondonlovesJobs

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