Either I’ve been less observant than usual over the last few months or Google Profiles snuck into the wild without a whole lot of fanfare. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the world’s favourite search engine building something to claim the internet back from Facebook but sadly, having played with it for a few minutes and building my profile, I don’t think Google Profiles is quite ready to take down Zuckerberg’s baby.
I won’t give a full, in depth review here – I’m sure that’s been covered already, but my first impressions of Google Profiles are quite positive. Setting up your profile is really easy and mine took literally less time than it took to boil the kettle, but that’s a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, the simplicity with which a profile can be set up does eclipse Facebook. Thanks to the way it works, you always know exactly where your information will be on the page, but with this simplicity comes limitations. It’s tough to see exactly how – if that’s the intention – Google Profiles will take down Facebook when it doesn’t seem like you can add contacts directly on there and if you don’t have a Buzz account, it doesn’t look like there’s any option for the fluid feeds that we’re used to from the Facebook wall.
As a static “This is who I am” page, I like Google Profiles and it’s nice to think that this particular profile is what will come up if someone searches for my name, but given the limitations that you encounter without a Buzz account, I’m not sure that Facebook is going to be sweating too much about this.
Of course that’s not to say that there’s no potential here. With Google at the helm, Profiles (or indeed whatever it is that they’re rumoured to be working on), it would be daft to suggest that there is no potential, it’s just down to how they choose to push it.
Many of Google’s products seem to come out to some fanfare and then drift under the radar, perhaps causing lower adoption levels than they would hope for. Whether Google Profiles is as far through its development as it’s going to get right now, whether this is just the beginning or even if it’s just a precursor to something bigger, marketing will be the key to its success. As it stands right now, I don’t see Facebook losing any sleep over this, but as with everything else, we’ll have to wait and see what transpires in the future.