It’s all the buzz (no pun intended) at the moment in internet and social media circles. Google’s latest offering in the social space. Google+ (G+).
You can have a look at the introductory information at G+ and here are some articles from
- Introducing the Google+ project: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web – Official Google Blog
- Google+: The Pros & Cons – Mashable
- Why Google+ Will Make A Splash, Not A Wave, In The Community Pool – FastCompany
- What MySpace’s Tom Anderson Thinks of Google+ – Mashable
- Behind Google+’s Stealth March On Foursquare, Instagram, Gaming, Facebook, Your Life – FastCompany
I’ve got some thoughts that I want to share and where better to do it than here.
Read the Disclaimer
Google+ has come with a disclaimer but many seem to have forgotten this and have criticized the limited release of not fully functioning platform.
Why is Google+ invitation only?This new service isn’t ready for public use just yet. Google is making the service available for field testing meaning they’d like a handful of regular people to use it and give feedback so they’ll know what to improve and wether there are bugs that need fixing. So once again there’s no point in complaining that you can’t join freely or add people instantly since that’s not the purpose at the moment. This is not a public release.
Google has been working hard on improving the look and feel of some of it’s offerings going back to the iGoogle customisations, Gmail themeing and Priority Inbox, Google Reader modifications, to Google Groups returning to it’s roots as a discussion forum.
What we have seen is a total interface redux thanks to Andy Hertzfeld (original Macintosh UI) and I like it.
Different but good (Going round in circles)
There is a good break from what has become tradition on other social platforms where you would usually ‘friend’, ‘like’, ‘favorite’, ‘follow’ or ‘share’ something.
In G+ a different paradigm has been embedded around the ability to ‘share’ and ‘+1’ (+1 had already been out there but really needed something like G+ or the Google Bookmarks tools for it to truly generate value) and the way you can push that to specific groups instead of them sorting through the stream you produce looking for something useful.
An example at the moment is in Twitter I can share something, but it is shared with all who folllow me. I can help them sort things out by using appropriate hashtags but they still get the lot. With Google+, for each message I can tailor the audience (by selecting one or more people or circles – group of people) or choose to make the post public. I control the audience instead of the audience controlling me (well they can still control me but I can be more selective).
Tags: We have labels in Gmail and tags in Reader & Bookmark. Let’s get it consistent and into G+.
Circles: Allow circles within circles. I need to think more about the idea of public and private circles. Will be interesting if GGroups could be replaced by a circle concept as they have now stripped it back to discussion forums.
Search: Difficult to believe that there isn’t a search feature in a Google product to allow you to search your stream (currently you can only search people). Can Understand that this would be tricky with circles but needs to be here.
Integration is going to be key. Integration with the rest of the Google deck of tools but also with third party services and critically I think with the Chrome browser/OS.
I see the potential for a few of the google tools such as Bookmarks, Reader, Buzz and even Groups to be rolled into or taken over by the G+ platform. We are already starting to see a few gaps filled by Chrome Apps and Extensions to improve G+ function. Give me a G+ +1 button in my toolbar and a status indicator and I’ll be happy.
There is potential here as well for integration into Google Sites and Blogger for better social features on sites and blogs.
I am really looking forward to the possibilities for google apps as an improved social business platform with this social glue holding it all together.
Oauth is another aspect. A majority of online and device based apps utilise your twitter and Facebook logins as accounts and authentication e.g. Rockmelt, Klout, Instagram etc.. (some even use Yahoo! – how outdated is that). There are some out there that allow you to use your google login but that will need to increase to gain traction in this space. When the ability to use your google credentials to authenticate is beside the twitter and Facebook options then we’ll know they have cracked it.
3rd party photo app integration will be important so I hope they can improve the picassa APIs to allow the posting of images to G+. A number of third party apps allow you to store in flickr or photobucket etc…
There will be more but if I don’t get this published now it will stay in draft and keep getting added to for ever!
Keen to hear what you think about these ideas and your views of G+?