I was definitely curious about Google+, but I am definitely not in the OMG-must-get-invite crowd and I wasn’t too worried about getting an invite.
You see, Google+ is a social network and they don’t really want it to be exclusive, but they are trying to generate false scarcity to get the type of early adopter upon whom the early success of Google+ depends excited and invested in the product.
The people who got the early invites, whether directly from Google or in several degrees from these first invites, are going to feel special. It’s a natural reaction when you are part of an exclusive club.
Also the fact that you have to put in some effort to get an invite means that the early adopters will be more invested in the product than they would if it were easier to join Google+.
In essence, they are using an involvement device to make the early adopters more committed to the social network.
The classic example of an involvement device is the stamps in the old Publishers’ Clearing House bulk mail. Each catalogue came with a set of stamps that were meant to be pasted on select locations within the catalogue.
It may seem like quite innocent and silly, but by getting the catalogue recipients more invested in the catalogue, Publishers’ Clearing House increased conversions and became a classic case study for copywriters and marketers.
Doubters might point out that Google frequently soft-launches products to a limited user base. But Google+ is a social network and you’re going to need a committed group of users sharing on the network.
And who better than the heaviest web users?
As for the actual Google+ service…I like the ability to choose which circle you communicate with which is great for keeping friends and work separate. I like the privacy controls. But I’m not sure I want Google to know more about me.