This has been bothering me for quite some time so I figured I would write about it.
If you are an avid internet user like me (many people these days are), you probably have many, MANY accounts online. Everything from online shopping, to social media accounts, to niche sites (www.bdsm.com anyone?). While it is currently necessary to have all of these separate accounts, it doesn’t have to be this way!
In general, monopolies rarely work in favour of the average consumer but I believe that the internet could use some simplification by unifying some core components of a users web experience.
For example, I tend to disagree with Google’s new +1 button. Sure, many people have Google accounts and use a variety of their services but how many of them use Google accounts to primarily interact with their social media? My guess is not many. While it is clear that Google may be positioning itself to introduce a social media platform in the future, for now, it would benefit users for Google to integrate with an already widely used, popular social service – say, Facebook or Twitter. Instead, Google typically chooses to offer its own competing services which further divides up the internet.
Google wants to be the one-stop-shop of everything “internetz” but perhaps it should start pursuing strategic alliances with key sites instead. I personally think that this could produce more value for the consumer. Instead of launching its own “like button” why not just use the already popular Facebook like button? I, for one, have about 10 friends associated with my Google account. In contrast, I have 700+ on Facebook. So which platform makes more sense to link “likes” to search engine results between friends? ‘Nuff said.
Is anyone else getting sick of having 300+ accounts on the internet?
The value in any given network is the number of nodes present in that network. In Facebook’s case, those nodes are your friends. If a friend of yours drops off the network, you must now pursue other means of keeping in touch with them – complicating your life and reducing the overall value of the network. I know this very well. Despite being an active user of Facebook and Twitter, their value has always been limited to me because most of my life-long friends do not use them. So although I am still able to keep in touch with many of my friends, there are also many that I am not able to keep in touch with in this way.
These division of networks and services reduce the value to all users as a whole. What we need are some agreed upon standards, a couple well integrated and fully-utilized services for users to fully reap the rewards of a unified internet. Perhaps it is just a pipe dream . . .
We need to maintain a level of competition on the internet to allow for constant innovation, but sometimes, I wish there were a few less options and more integration across the net.