Google Plus is awesome. I'm already a huge, huge fan. I like the clean layout. I like the ability to place all my contacts into various circles and send updates only to certain types of people. And best of all, I love the Hangouts video chat service, which works extremely well even with large groups. But none of it's going to matter if Google keeps Plus under wraps for too long. 

I understand why Google is keeping Plus exclusive for now. There are several possible reasons for that strategy. Most notably, it gives them time to notice and fix bugs in the system before the entire world sees them. It also helps keep the server workload down as Google tests Plus' capabilities.

And finally, it helps build buzz on the product by keeping the supply low and the demand skyrocketing. I've seen countless comments on Facebook and Twitter by people wishing they could get into Google Plus because they're hearing so much cool stuff about it.

But the strategy's going to backfire if Google isn't careful, and it may already be happening.

Why Google Plus Should Open The Doors Now

Do you know what happens when I post something to Google Plus? This is what happens:

Mr. Google Plus, Tear Down That Wall tumbleweeds2

Tumbleweeds. Crickets. Because there's no one else on it!

Google Plus is basically useless as long as it's in a closed beta test. Access is so limited, that I have exactly four friends on it. Why is that a problem? Because I don't have anyone to be social with on Google Plus. What's the point in posting photos, comments, videos, and other notes when no one is going to see them, let alone have a conversation with me about them?

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And one of the biggest selling points of Google Plus, in my opinion, is the group video chat service called Hangouts, which allows up to 10 people to chat by video simultaneously. And it's completely neutered by the overall lack of users. I basically can't make use of it at all.

I've found in the last couple days, I do more talking about Google Plus on Facebook, because that's where all my friends are. Many of them want to be on Plus, and ask how they can join, but I'm left shrugging my shoulders at them because Google's not giving us any information on the roll-out plan.

And isn't this the same problem some of Google's previous social products have had, like Google Buzz? Not enough users adopting the service. Only in this case... millions of users want to join Google Plus, but they can't. They're locked out. And I worry that by the time they're let in, all the early adopters like myself will have gotten tired of talking to ourselves and moved back to Facebook.


A social network is supposed to be social. By limiting Google Plus to such a small initial user base, Google has removed the very thing that makes social networks cool: other people.

Don't get me wrong: I think Google Plus rocks. It has huge potential to rock the social networking boat quite a bit, particularly with the integration it offers into Gmail and other Google products. But until the walls come down, and more people from my network are allowed in, it's a ghost town. Which doesn't give me much motivation to keep going back.

  • Cesi

    This article is good! Google plus does need to be public in order to grow properly!

  • Kate

    I believe the real reason they should go public soon is people who do not have an account (I do - google asked me to join), because they will simply get annoyed with not being able to join - thinking it's not worth it. Eventually if your friends aren't joining then you wont want to be apart of it either - defeats the point of a "social network" with lacking "social-ness" going on. Another thing is if they decide to only keep it 18+ (not like it matters to me since thats my age), but then you lose users as well. Facebook - while I loved its original use of college students only - now accepts people who are younger if google does not you lose users (or just have them lie about their age). While I understand they want the best site possible out there before being released to the public I do not think that is smart -business wise- in the long run for them.

  • Ishka

    Jeremy said something that was overlooked. Don't sit on the sidelines with googleplus jump in as an early adopter, use it and position your self to help others with it down the road- especially offline, local businesses.

    That's what I'll be doing and here's the how to part

  • Jed Gorman

    How many invites are given out?

  • Stephanie Scott

    Great points. I too just heard of plus and when I tried to join couldn't. If it isn't rolled out soon I won't bother.

  • Jason Chappell

    As of July 13th or 14th, it appears they have opened it up to the public.

  • Alex Lindsey

    ya I know I only have one friend on google plus this might be one of my last likes on facebook after google plus becomes open to everyone!

  • Kyle James

    You know there is a feature that is worth testing, called "Inviting people to Google+". What's weird is it becomes less of a ghost town after you test that a couple times, especially if they try the same feature along with the ones they bring along. I have 20+ friends right now in the last 16 hours of being a part of Google+. The problem is, I don't think Google hype and popularity can be contained by Google itself. With the amount of already built social infrastructure in google, it doesn't seem like Google needed to do much except simply bridge some gaps between and a little polish and some testing and voila "Google+". If there is anything that can best Facebook, it's Google. Over the last decade Google has managed to either dominate(i.e. search, advertising, and online videos) or penetrate(mobile os, e-mail) a very sizeable portion of multiple different markets and building enough momentum to where there isn't much stopping them from taking over facebook but facebook themselves. Facebook is strong, but to Facebook's disadvantage, Google has the ability to simply muscle Facebook out of the picture.

  • Kaitlin Guzzi

    I completely agree - it's idiotic and one of the problems they faced with Wave.

  • Brian Lapolt

    If you know people on G+ you can get an invite. If you are on G+ you can give invites.... It's not exclusive. This is the way google has rolled out every other service they have ever made. Gmail, back in the day, google voice more recently. Deal with it.

  • Rachel J Morris

    When I joined G+ I also mass invited a bunch of people from various IRC channels I frequent, as well as my own board and some FB friends.

    Of my 51 "friends" I've accumulated in the past 6 days, only 5 of them I know in person. I think the programmer-types are more prone to migrating to G+ than your average user, who is content with Facebook and scoffs at G+ as a rip off product (without considering the Privacy issues with FB in the past).

    TL;DR: Befriend more tech-nerds, they'll probably prefer G+ over FB. x(

  • Jamie Scheuneman

    I agree 100%, I only have 2 friends on Google+, my husband and one other. I have to encourage people to sign up for Google, then I can send them an invite. Right now I am sharing info basicallly myself. I was excited to be invited so quickly, yet where is the fun?

    • Jamie Scheuneman

      If anyone wants an invite email me your gmail address and I will send you an invite. Just add me to your circle of acquaintances.
      [email protected]

  • Marc Goodman

    then just invite your friends. lol

  • Mary Hallaren

    Right now its tested with small amount of users an you can send invites to people if you have one.

  • Richard Kacerek

    Spot on

  • Fran Cas

    It is just and strategy, the same way users first had to file a request to facebook before they opened its service on a college, and they waited until 15% of the population had requested facebook. Google is waiting so that enough people have filed a request, so that when they open it to the public everyone have enough friends to keep the network growing.

  • Armin DeFiesta

    I just got an invite today and after about 30 minutes, I just don't see the point or value of it. I can do much of the same things already in Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are already a lot for me to keep up with since I use it for business too. Not to mention FB has what, 1 billion users or something crazy like that? How will Google really compete? So I tend to agree, if Google+ keeps the access limited any longer, it really doesn't stand a chance. And honestly, even if the doors do open, I still don't see how it will succeed as yet another social media tool.

  • Bill Stafford

    Google+ is in Field Test mode. If you only have 4 friends because you are afraid to interact with people and make new acquaintances, then sure, during the field test you will be lonely. Robert Scoble, on the other hand (well known tech journalist) put a post today with just a photo from the Atlantis launch and had over 900 +1 and comments, shares, etc. within seconds. I don't know him personally..but I follow his public feed. If you're not willing to meet new people, then you're taking the "social" out of "social networking."

  • abhishek d

    Guys google plus is awesome. but i only have like 23 friends now which is boring. and its not that hard to gain access to G plus..just ask a friend to mention you in a comment and check your email..follow the link and you will have an account in no time..some people need to wait like 12 hours but trust me its worth the wait! c y'all on G plus soon!

  • Alex Miranda

    I totally agree. I think the psychological hype has gotten to people. I keep seeing on Twitter how great it is and how its the Facebook killer. No way no how period!! First my post are limited and cannot be made public. Second my friends cannot join even with an invite because you have to constantly watch for it to be open and third, I feel like a man on a deserted island. There is a reason Facebook has 750 million members and people are acting like it is useless. We shall see what happens soon enough.

  • Chintan Joshi

    It is pretty much open, You need to try inviting your friends. There is no better way of doing it. And, if the number of users grow fast enough with the word of mouth, it would open up to other users as well.Remember, how Gmail worked initially. It's kinda the same thing.

  • Amber Cebull

    Agreed. It irritates me more than anything because I'm a smaller online marketing business - I'm supposed to know and report all the new and great technologies and social media tools to my clients - but I have no ability to use this product. So clients are coming to me asking how they can utilize it for business and I have to Google it and read other's research? Doesn't look good on my part. Kinda irritating, actually, because a few friends of mine are on it - and I'm not sure how they got access.

    It's like in highschool where all the popular kids alienated all the normal kids, and the normal kids developed a hatred toward everything the popular kids did, just out of spite.

    Let us in, Google. You'll fail without the majority.

  • Gary

    I am already frustrated ! Why all the hype when the whole thing is not ready for the crowds?

    This not good marketing to let some journalist and other "celebrities" test the service so they can write about it, but the "normal" user has to wait.

    It is like showing a nice steak but I am not allowed to eat it

  • Ruth Hussey

    The Future: Video all over the Internet!

  • Alan Clinch

    I know how to invite people, Once they get the invite though it's random if they get in after that. You basically need to keep trying. If anyone wants an invite add me on facebook and send me a message.

  • Noble Bowman

    I agree... It is the same thing that happened with Google Wave... I had it for months before others in my group were able to use it... so it never caught on. I am afraid this is going to happen again. I haven't even been able to start using it yet... STINKS! #failsofar

  • Waiss

    I'm really excited to see what Google+ has to offer and what strategy placed in order to take any chunck of the social media environment.

  • mattifi

    i am tiring to find way to go with Google + .
    i like to use it because i trust Google products

  • Annalisa Samantha

    It's soo true. How the heck can you give feedback if they wont roll it out to more people. Just makes it useless.....

    • Annalisa Samantha

      And I get that. I just don't think that that alone is giving a full feedback.

    • Annalisa Samantha

      Yeah good point.

  • Martin Deese

    You can still get Free Google Plus Invites at It's the only site I know that still works since Google stopped allowing the public.

  • Ansh Yog

    its awesome...........................

  • Joseph ‘Unga Rosas

    Test with who? Yourself? Testing a social network requires socializing with others dummy.

    • Mark Robertson

      ??? That's what the article is about.

    • Mark Robertson

      ahhh - -my bad. So, Mr. Google Plus is the dummy :-) Got it. agreed

    • Jeremy Scott

      He's responding to the other dude who said it's not supposed to be in social mode, but testing mode. (At least, I think he is)

    • Joseph ‘Unga Rosas

      Jeremy got it right. Should have hit reply, oops.

    • Joseph ‘Unga Rosas

      That make sense David. Too many spammers and "Requirements" for those that are able to invite others. Just wasted a lot of my time. I'll just have to wait like everyone else.

  • Natalie Copuroglu

    I agree. I still managed to invite a few people by putting them in my circles and then updating my status by doing Hi @person you want to invite. They will receive a notification by email that I mentioned them on Google+ and once they click on "view the message", the Join Google+ link will appear. But I have to admit this is a not a long term solution and it is quite time-consuming if you have to invite all of your friends this way.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn't agree more. I cannot get signed up and initially really wanted to however as each day of being declined passes I am starting to think, stuff you, I'll just stick with Facebook.

  • Shiromasa Yamamoto

    It's kind of funny watching Facebook and Google + Battle it out now. Both are trying to monopolize the entire internet, and have a total disregard for it's users privacy rights. While they battle it out, ONLYMEWORLD a small start up & both their alternative continues to see record growth.

    ONLYMEWORLD does not require a real name, and email, protecting their members privacy rights from cybercriminals & being indexed unknowingly on the internet, also no more spam & no hassles. People may ask, what's the sense of social networking without your real name? Let's face it, any system can be hacked and cybercriminals need your real name to further their criminal activities. No real names and emails also allow people to still effectively social network for their business, personal, and professional life, etc., and still have some privacy & anonymity.

    ONLYMEWORLD allows its members to share it's ad revenue by placing adsense and other advertising on their profiles, when a members profile is viewed and someone clicks on one of their profile ads, the member not ONLYMEWORLD make money.

    If I were Facebook & Google +, I wouldn't be worred about each other...I would be more worried about rethinking their business model and stop violating its users privacy rights, and selling their information to advertisers, companies, and in the future to governments, etc.,

  • Ben Cicotte

    I would +1 this, but there's no point since I'm still locked out. I will "like" it however. It may be one of my last likes ever tbh.

    • Dervin Ridingaroundandimgettinit Alexander

      search #needaninvite o twitter. i got one yesterday. if u sen dme your email, ill send u one.

    • timothy1952

      I would like one toooo! [email protected] I am not on facebook anymore.

    • Dana Michael Myers

      I would like one too [email protected]

  • Classic

    I agree, somewhat. I do however feel google+ is worth the wait, and most will forgive google the instant they can access it. However, they can't completely shut the doors for too long, new waves of invites should happen to keep existing users around. I personally will stick around regardless, For people who use many of the google services, it's simply fantastic to have the social services there as well. That, and I wouldn't miss FB and it's BS policies for a second.

  • Jeff Carlsen

    I think it would help if they would announce their rollout plans. Let us know, now, when more invites will be available and when the service will become public. That way I can anticipate a known opportunity, rather than begrudge a missed one.

  • John D

    I completely agree here. I give everyone a couple weeks of frustration over trying to get into Google Plus, after which we'll all conclude it really isn't worth the bother we've put into it already.

    They're not inviting us to their party? Fine, maybe we don't need to be there after all.

  • Raymundo Lizarraga Verdugo

    Tumbenla !!! Tear Down That Wall LOL