I recall with some clarity the moment Google Plus entered my life. I was logging into my YouTube account and for some unknown reason, I was obliged to fill out an elaborate profile on YouTube’s parent company’s new Social Network platform: Google Plus.
I was a little miffed, although my irritation was short lived; that was the last time I interacted with Google Plus in any capacity. But over the years, I always wondered: ‘Why was Google joining in on the Social Network rat race?’
No focus? No problem
It struck a chord, because around that same time, I was reading and re-reading ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,’ and I couldn’t understand why such a winning company such as Google was ‘falling into traps’ laid out my authors Al Ries & Jack Trout.
I came to the conclusion that Ries & Trout were out of touch; out to lunch; relics from a bygone age. They had to be! Google was Google. A company of that stature could defy gravity; they weren’t susceptible to any ‘laws of marketing’!
There were a few other dissonances surrounding this matter. Roughly around this time, I recall Peter Thiel banging a drum exclaiming that a search monopoly like Google has to put up a smoke screen and give the impression that its sixty-seven per cent market-share of ‘search’ needed obfuscating with an act of: ‘Don’t pick on us! We are in the humongous technology space — alongside Apple, Twitter, Facebook and many dozens more. We aren’t the monopoly you’re looking for.’
This also was a curiosity. How was it possible for a company to perform such elaborate theatre?
It stands to reason
Now, Google Plus is going away. Although I’m not qualified to remark on the product in any way, as I never used it, this recent news did jerk my attention back to the recent past when I was mulling over all the above.
If Thiel was correct, why was Google Plus being retired? Wouldn’t this harm their tactical maneuver around Washington’s monopoly truffle pigs?
Simply put, the Thiel-ian thesis doesn’t seem reasonable. Employing thousands of engineers to dedicate themselves to trying to look busy all for the sake of smoke-screening Google’s search success, doesn’t seem as likely as Google simply falling into competition with its tech-rivals, for the sake of attaining market-share wherever it can find it.
It seems that Google can’t stay focused and has to compete wherever it sees a foe. And with that, it also seems that Google is indeed susceptible to the harsh laws of marketing. Even with all its cash and leverage, when it comes to Google Plus, Google may have violated the ‘Sixth Immutable Law: The Law of Exclusivity.’
Specifically, ‘The Law of Exclusivity’ states it’s impossible for a company to demand that their prospects associate its brand to oodles of categories (ie. phones, search, social networking, email, etc.). Or, rather: ‘Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.’ Google owns the word ‘search.’ It would be impossible for Google to mean anything else.
And there lies the problem with Gmail, Google Plus, and even Android. How are these post-search projects not in violation of ‘The Sixth Law’?
In the end, uncertainty remains about Google Plus and what Google is up to, generally: is Google competing in so many spaces a strategic move, like Thiel suggests? Or is Google set on competition, to one-up rivals, like they did in ‘search’ twenty years ago?
Either way, it’s a noteworthy time in Google’s history. Google Plus saying goodbye should give pause to entrepreneurs and business types, alike.