Google Inc. should be happy there is a high demand for its Google+ social network, but the reality is it may have made the company look unprepared.
In a post on his Google+ page, Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of Engineering at Google, said the company announced it has shut down the invite mechanism for its new social network due to
We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way. Thank you all for your interest! he added.
Gundotra did not indicate when the invite function would be put back up. The company said Google+ was in a beta development period when they introduced it this week. It did not reveal how many been invited, how many have joined and when it would be available for everyone.
The most the company could say through a spokesperson was the invitation process will be opened and closed periodically as the company works on getting the network ready for its big public release.
The controlled release has long been a favorite of Google's. It allows them to look for bugs that may appear. The company used it for previous social networks like Wave and with its most successful product ever, Gmail. However, this time around, one analyst says they may have dropped the ball.
They seem to be indicating that they are overwhelmed, Ezra Gottheil, analyst at TBR, Technology Business Research, said. It's simple arithmetic, you have a contact list and you invite people easily. People may have invited people inadvertently. So it looks like they made a mistake. They didn't estimate how fast it would explode and a rapid influx of traffic.
The controlled release isn't the problem Gottheil said, it has been the execution. With Gmail, Google built up a large user base by touting one niche element to the service, in that case it was large bandwidth availability. Google, Gottheil says, should be doing that with Google+'s exclusivity feature through its Circles function.
I think they could have approached it differently. Instead of saying this is a social network for your friends, you say this is a social network for your group of friends. They should have encouraged people to try it with a Circle, Gottheil said.
For the most part, analysts and users seem to like the Circles function of Google+ more than anything else. Circles lets users share and communicate strictly with a specific group of friends or family.
Circles is an interesting feature. While Facebook does support the group function, Google Circles is a more intuitive approach and seems to mimic the way people work in their lives. Most tend to associate themselves with a group of people and certain environments, Charles King, analyst at Pund-IT, said.
However, even Circles could have an issue. Late Thursday night, The Financial Times revealed another issue regarding the early release of Google+. There is a re-sharing feature on Google+, which like Twitter's retweet, allows you to post someone's else post on your page. The post then goes beyond the original person's Circle, thus making the whole point of the feature useless.
Google did admit there may be rough edges to the early days of Google+ in its blog post and this is nothing compared to its early dealings with Buzz.
Google did not respond to further request for comment.
Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna