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ECommerceTimes.com

LinkedIn CEO to Google+: 4's a Crowd

By Rob Spiegel
Jul 19, 2011 12:31 PM PT

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner voiced his opinion on Google+ on Monday, saying there just isn't enough room for the search giant's foray into social media. Weiner made his remarks at an event at the Churchill Club in San Jose, Calif., sharing the stage with AllThingsD's Kara Swisher and William Morris agent Ari Emanuel.

LinkedIn CEO to Google+: 4's a Crowd

Swisher reportedly asked the LinkedIn head honcho if there was a limit to the number of social networks that could coexist. Weiner expressed the view that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter had the bases covered, and that people didn't have enough free time for yet another.

Each social network serves its purpose, he suggested, questioning whether there was a place for Google+.

People generally use Facebook for family and friends, LinkedIn for business and Twitter for micro-blogging, Weiner said.

Social platforms and TV can coexist, he observed, adding that you don't see people using Twitter while using Facebook or using Facebook while using LinkedIn.

All Things Google?

Although Weiner could be spot on concerning the limited room at the top of the social networking pyramid, he obviously has a vested interest in promoting that message.

"This is the kind of thing that people would expect him to say, since he runs a social network," Steven Savage, technology project manager and Geek 2.0 blogger, told the E-Commerce Times. "He's not going to say 'I'm glad to see yet another social network.' He does have a point -- people have limited time."

Although Google may hope Facebook's hundreds of millions will migrate to Google+, such a coup would not be easy to pull off. Social network users have invested heavily in maintaining their connections. However, that's not to say Google+ is a nonstarter.

"People do not have time for a lot of social networks, so they are selective," said Savage. "People may have time for Google+ by cutting out other networks."

Google has taken years to unveil its long-awaited venture into Facebook-style social networking, and at three weeks, it remains in invite-only beta testing. The question, according to Savage, is this: Can social networks fail because people don't have time for them?

"Not Google+ in particular," he said -- "any network could fail. Google+ did get an obvious late start, but they've done very well catching up."

Google continually looks to extend its tools and products to its existing users, while also integrating with other communication products -- Android is a perfect example, noted Savage. Google+ could end up saving time by providing a simplified one-stop solution.

"Google may attempt to integrate with others to be more of a clearinghouse. Keep in mind that part of Google's strategy is disruption. They don't have to be number one or even number three, as long as they can keep others on their toes and keep themselves from being subservient to other companies."

As for Weiner's comments, Savage views them as self-serving. Though he may be right, it's also a brush-off of a competitor.

"In this case, Weiner is a partially reputable source," said Savage. "He is right that people have limited time, but I think his mentioning Google+ is more a 'marketing statement' you'd expect of someone in his position."

More Google for Googlers

For Google's part, its stated goal is to offer more Google to those who are already comfy with its services.

"We realize that today people are increasingly connecting with one another on the Web, but the ways in which we connect online are limited and don't mimic our real-life relationships," Katie Watson, senior manager of global communications and public affairs at Google, told the E-Commerce Times.

"The Google+ project is our attempt to make online sharing even better," she said. "We aren't trying to replace what's currently available; we just want to introduce a new way to connect online with the people that matter to you."

Google+ is built on top of Google's existing products, Watson noted, with the goal of making the system "fun and simple to use."

Its target audience is those who are already accustomed to Google, she emphasized.

"If you use Google already, this will enhance your experience," explained Watson. "For example, we've designed a new top navigation bar across Google properties, so if you're using Google+, you can easily get notified of new updates when you're in Gmail, or you can share content right from the top navigation bar when you're doing a Google search."

For those who use Google everyday, she said, "this is just an upgrade."

Meanwhile, Facebook has been making defense moves, taking down customer-created Google+ ads from its site and trying to prevent people from transferring contacts to Google+.


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