Over the past week and a bit, Google was making waves on the internet about the launch Google plus.
I make that pun, because I wonder how many people remember Google Wave? It seems odd to me that Google is coming to the social media table. Mainly because it looks as though it’s almost a decade late – and looking like it’s going to be a dollar short, too.
I honestly don’t know what to make of the tour. While it seems to incorporate some interesting little functionality features, it doesn’t really do much to improve the actual social networking experience. I somehow managed to eke my way into what is still being called the ‘beta’ – but I haven’t seen anything to blow my socks off. Even those that seem excited about Plus, seem to have a hard time selling me on that excitement.
There’s a few things I like. And a few things I don’t. I haven’t had a chance to really delve in and see what I can do – but here’s my initial thoughts:
I like the idea of having to add people you know to circles first – it’s a similar feature in facebook, but at least this way you do it as the friends add you. What I don’t like is that someone can just add you. I haven’t found a way to really set my privacy settings properly yet, but I’m not really keen on the idea that I don’t have global controls over who can see what. This kind of feeling goes for circles as well – I’d like to be able to set some default levels of privacy for each circle, and then not have to figure it out every time I post something.
Third Party Connections
When I saw the feature that ‘connected’ me to my other social network areas (flickr, twitter, etc), I was pretty excited. I thought Google Plus might become the hub for social networking that I continually held out hope that Facebook would be. No dice. So far it has just produced a series of links down the side. I would love if I could pull postings from multiple twitter accounts, from linkedin, from facebook and from flickr and have it live all in once place.
I like the design. I love that it harkens back to the old days of facebook with the cool edge of minimalist simplicity that Google seems to always manage to embody. I hope it stays this clean.
Sometimes I click on a photo, and it doesn’t do anything. If it’s not plain black text, and I click on it, it should do something. That’s all.
I’d like to delve into it further, but I haven’t the time right now. But here’s my gut reaction:
The internet is a big place, but there’s not always a ton of room for multiple products. Remember Friendster? Yahoo! 360°?
Or MySpace? It’s like watching people fight over whether or not to pull the plug on a brain-dead coma patient.
There are already so many tools out there for facebook, and the social networks that survive are the ones that find a niche that Facebook doesn’t fill. The only real place people are looking for, is a simpler place to collect all those streams into one place, and allow the minutia of their lives stream along as one giant torrent.
So, Google Plus – there’s not much you’d need to change to get there.