Friendster

The ghost of social networks past

Friendster, Bebo, Tribe, Vox—we’ve missed you of late. As today is supposed to mark the end of the world, the virtual social worlds of years past have been much on our mind. 

Where have they gone? Why did they go? Do we even care?

It’s hard to answer those questions without first marveling at what now falls under “social.” A decade ago, blogs and sites like Friends Reunited or Classmates.com were peripheral to our daily digital lives. Today online sociability is the norm: We turn to Yelp reviews when deciding about a restaurant or, when that fails, post on our Facebook walls—“Hey, where can I find good Thai in Philly?” We laugh at cat videos all day long, and we add our IMHO to a long list of responses to ire-inducing blog posts.

Is Google+ facing a demographic fail?

If the future of the internet is social, as some believe, the long-term fate of the world’s largest search engine could rest on how well its social network, Google+ does.

While it has a long way to go before it catches up to Facebook in popularity and adoption, with over 100m users, it would appear that Google is off to a decent start.