When it first arrived on the scene, Google+ was like the new rich kid at school, throwing its money around and inviting people to hyped-up things they weren’t really interested in.
Then, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s new E-Business report, people started noticing that Google+ wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it scored a 78 out of 100, which surpassed Facebook’s score of 61.
So what happened? Why do people like Google+ all of a sudden?
First, it’s important to remember that Facebook has more than 900 million users compared to Google+’s 250 million, with reports in the past claiming that Google+ users engaged very little with the site. Still, the people who actually do use Google+ seem to like it.
According to the report, users were happy with Google+’s mobile app, which features a clean interface with large photos and the ability to join Hangouts and Google+ Messenger chats. Also popular was how easily it worked with Google’s other products such as YouTube and Gmail.
What don’t people like? Ads. Facebook, criticized for its Sponsored Stories program that turned an innocent man into a lube salesman, got dinged pretty badly for the advertising on its site, as did Twitter and LinkedIn, which scored 64 and 63, respectively.
Another big reason Facebook’s score dropped five points from last year was the introduction of Timeline. Apparently people don’t like when they can’t opt out of a radical new redesign that unearths all of their past activity.
The report astutely observes that while people might be annoyed with Facebook, it’s just too much of a hassle to switch to a new social network:
There are currently no alternatives in scope and size to Facebook. Many users have invested significant time in creating their individual social networking spaces from the vast array of friends and connections available through Facebook. As such, switching costs in time and inconvenience are so high that many users continue to accept something with which they are not all that satisfied rather than start over on another social network.
That doesn’t mean Facebook shouldn’t worry. Remember when everybody was on Myspace?