I was skeptical at first, but I think there is a future in Google+.
I’ve been using it this last week, and it’s not perfect, but not bad either. I was skeptical because of Google’s massive social fails in Buzz, Latitude, Wave and +1 (although to be fair +1 on its own is a fail, and starts to make sense in the greater context of Google+), but Google+ is at least usable in a way that the others weren’t.
Now let’s extrapolate out a little. Given that Google+ is usable, and that they give you notifications EVERY time you go to Google.com to search, let’s just say it’s going to be big. While it may not ever replace Facebook, it may be the Pepsi to its Coke. Now, Google already has a Google+ Android app (naturally), but they have also submitted an iOS app. I don’t think that it’s a huge leap of faith to assume that Google will start baking Google+ into future versions of Android at the OS level, so you don’t need to install a separate app.
Think about that for a second. Hundreds of millions of Android users will have a native social networking experience on their phones–their primary tool for communicating and socializing with friends. Mobile is key to the next generation of social networking, and Google potentially has a huge advantage.
Apple famously snubbed Facebook in favor of adding Twitter OS level integration in iOS 5, and as much as I love Twitter, it is a much more shallow social experience than Facebook or Google+. Picture sharing is done with links, photo-tagging is nonexistent, and conversations are disparate ping pong matches.
But once (if) Google+ gets traction and is on hundreds of millions of handsets at the OS level, I have a feeling that Apple and Facebook might kiss and make up really quickly. An Apple alliance with Facebook would make sense in the whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of way.
Whatever does happen down the road, Google+ is for real, and things are about to get interesting in the mobile social space.