I bought a book via Google's Android Market the other night. It was not what I'd originally intended to do.
I wasn't tired but I was in pain; I'd picked up my five-year old the wrong way (they just keep growing!) and hurt my back. So I figured I'd just read a novel since I couldn't concentrate, but I didn't have any that I hadn't read. Hmm, ok, eBooks are generally outrageously priced but if I bought one I could read it right now.
First, I looked for interesting books in the Kobo application that came preinstalled on my Android phone. I couldn't find anything I wanted to read there, so I went to the Android store to get the Kindle reader, to see if there was anything from Amazon I was interested in. But of course once in the Android Market application there was this Books tab... so naturally I looked there. I found a book that I was interested in and bought it. Never got to the Kindle app.
Now, I bought it on my phone, but I was sitting in front of my laptop as I was doing it. I wasn't buying it on my phone because I wanted to read it on my phone at that particular moment, but rather just because I did want to be able to read it on my phone later if I needed to. So to figure out how to read this book I just bought, I typed in a quick query on my laptop, and up comes the Google books site and since I'm logged in, there's my book. So I never did read it on my phone.
I find this impulse buy sequence interesting because:
- When I started I had no thought of buying the book from the Android Market (I'd forgotten that Google was selling books), and
- when I switched to my laptop I had no intention of reading the book on my laptop (I didn't know it was possible).
I believe this ubiquity could allow Google to succeed with Google+ despite the daunting head-start that Facebook has: people will end up in Google+ by accident, and some will start to use it despite not having originally intended to do so. This plus the network effect could grow Google+ to critical mass if Google sticks it out.
Some people argue that Google's just trying to build a Walled Garden like Apple. I don't agree. Certainly they have a big garden, and that contributed to the fact that in the end I bought from Google rather than Kobo or Amazon, but I don't see the walls. I don't have to have Google hardware to read the book, I don't even have to have Android, the only thing I need is to have is a web browser.