Is Google+ trying to beat irrelevancy by merging all social media into one?

Still relevant?
Still relevant?
Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
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Google today announced a new section of Google+, called Collections. It’s essentially a scrapbooking tool, much like Pinterest: Users can create collections (like “boards”) which they can share with their followers or the public. Google says you can then “make your collection pop with custom names and cover photos,” if you’re so inclined.

Google+ may well be on its way to the digital dustbin, but Collections seems to be in keeping with Google’s existing strategy for the social network: be all social networks in one. At present, Google+ has managed to incorporate aspects of:

  • Facebook: Profile
  • Pinterest: Collections
  • Flickr: Photos
  • Yelp: Local, and the acquisition of Zagat
  • EventBrite: Events
  • WhatsApp: Google Hangouts
  • YouTube: this one’s obvious

All that Google is currently missing is some sort of Snapchat or Tinder clone to complete the social media bingo. Last week, Google+ also sent its first message on Twitter, from its account that has been dormant for four years, leading to speculation about what the search company’s intentions for with the micro-blogging site, and its own platform.

Google doesn’t share active user numbers for Google+, but it’s estimated that about 4 to 6 million users made a public post in the first half of January 2015. For reference, Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly active users, and Twitter has about 500 million tweets per day.

It’s unclear what Google’s plan is for Google+, and if Collections will really make any sort of dent in Pinterest’s user base. Pinterest announced, as part of its developer program launch today, that users have saved 50 billion posts to its service to date.

A Google representative told Quartz that with Collections, the company “set out to give people a place to express the things they love,” but wouldn’t comment on whether it represented a shifting focus for Google+, or if this was part of any grander social media plan.

Will Google+’s most recent social media knock-off help it stave off irrelevancy? Probably not. But in the meantime, Google’s developers continue to toil in obscurity, putting out attractive social media products that few people are using.