Social networks like Linkedin and Facebook once offered polling features. Within the past 2 years, both social networks have removed polls. Linkedin’s was a slower death. The Linkedin Polls app was first retired on June 30th, 2013. Linkedin waited until May 15, 2014 to retire a similar polling feature from Linkedin Groups. Why then, with social media polling features seemingly in decline, would Google+ release a new polling feature?
Part of a larger research plan
To start, we’ve already seen Google making their way into the research landscape. In 2012, Google launched “Google Consumer Surveys” as a way to conduct micro-surveys. Even more recently, Google purchased Polar, a popular polling service.
I guess, in a way, as researchers we should be honored that Google sees the opportunity in research. Anything that Google puts their hand in is almost a public stamp of approval. On the other hand, Google’s success could mean bad things for researchers as well. Time will tell.
Easy on the eyes
I’ve always been amazed when I see a low-quality product be extremely successful because “it looks pretty.” Google+ polls do not have any more “research capabilities” than Facebook or Linkedin had, they simply look better. Google+ polls offer a few straightforward layout options and the ability to add images.
Right now polls are slowly rolling out to Google+ users. Android users will have first crack at the feature, while iOS users will have to wait a while.
I’m encouraged to see social networks continue to experiment with “new” research capabilities. Hopefully Google+ can learn from the mistakes of Facebook and Linkedin and create something that provides value to the research community.