Why panning Google+ is lazy | (untitled) digital creative blog

Why panning Google+ is lazy 5

June 29, 2011 11:09 by in Technology

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Today’s Wednesday will be temporarily renamed Google+ day.  Both inside the office and outside in the grand world of the Twittersphere, complaints have ranged from ‘it’s just another Google Wave’, to ’500million users on Facebook? Why are they bothering to compete’, to ‘When will they learn that we don’t see Google as a social site?’  Today it’s revealed that Google + is more sociable and potentially a lot more interesting.  Following a lot of press about a flock of users leaving Facebook, their timing’s almost impeccable.

Let’s ignore the previous Wave and Buzz projects that have led to a speedy panning of the new service.  We found the video a bit waffly, so here’s a summary of what’s offered, with as many quick comparisons to Facebook as we can cram in.

The three main points are:

Circles: similar to Facebook lists: “share some things with college buddies, others with your parents and almost nothing with your boss.”  Luckily everyone at (untitled) loves the boss and so this is in no way true.  Unlike Facebook and Twitter’s previous offerings in this vein, this isn’t a tack-on service.  You can drag & drop users with some sexy HTML5.Hangouts: not just a step closer to never seeing your friends face-to-face.  Whilst sounding like an always-on Skype-esque program (“Let friends know that you’re free for a video hangout, any time, anywhere. Then catch up, watch YouTube or… just hangout.”), this is a multimedia station.  See all your videos and photos you’ve been tagged in, and holds chats.  Our favourite feature is the way that the group chat video displays only the face of who’s talking, rather than a screen for everyone.  We can’t wait to have a group chat and all talk at once.  There’s also an image editor and they may have hit the nail on the head here: there’s an editor with results that look a bit like Instagram. Sparks:is Google’s magical feed that shows you only what you’re interested in.  Using their somewhat useful knowledge of algorithms and search this aims to create “a feed of only the things that you’re really into, so when you’re free, there’s always something waiting to be watched, read or shared.”  This pulls info from their offering back in March – the suspiciously similarly titled ‘Google +1′ which has been dubbed ‘a great idea by Google engineers for Google engineers.’

This all comes on your computer and on mobile.  A feature we like of the app is that any media taken using the app is automatically uploaded.  It’s not made public (phew) but it is instantly accessible.  ‘Is this the new Android BBM?’ ask people on YouTube.  Well, if this takes off, it’s likely to be something a bit more.It’s all coming in stages, and we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for the next new bits.  Don’t tell anyone, but we think it’s a little bit cool.  We’re just waiting to see if our friends do too..

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Comments

Rob Williams

June 29, 2011 12:22

It’s quite bizzare, a couple of days ago I posted a blog about the fact that social sites need to embrace the way that people share different things with different groups in different ways. While I feel that google+ circles feature goes some way towards this, I don’t think it goes far enough.

Social Media with personality 
http://goo.gl/gux9R

It will be interesting if this is the first step towards a social web that acknowledges our different "personas" and means we don’t have to create multiple business, home, friend accounts etc.

Claire

June 29, 2011 12:45

You’re right – I’ve found using Facebook quite difficult because the options are ‘limited profile’ and unlimited. I never get round to changing the settings so everyone ends up seeing everything. Which affects what I put on Facebook (not much any way). Your post is very prophetic..

Chris Robinson

June 29, 2011 14:07

The ‘Circles’ idea is something I fully support. Google have been wise to move the ability to categorise people into the forefront of Google+.

In Facebook and Twitter, these lists have tended to be a background, added on feature, whereas Google+ has it as an integral function.

Being able to say different things to different people, and more importantly share different content with different people will hopefully minimise people getting in trouble with Social Media (ie. boss seeing pictures of you drunk with friends).

I know a few people who have multiple accounts for multiple uses, this might offer a way to converge multiple online personalities.

Mike Phillips

June 29, 2011 15:13

Possibly the most interesting thing about the launch is the number of people who have passed comment without even trying the service. "Google doesn’t get social – this will fail" they cry.

It’s not that Google doesn’t "get" social. It’s that it’s just not social. Not in the same way as Facebook and Twitter. Google make great products that solve specific problems. Maps, Docs, Search. They solve specific problems really well. Social isn’t a specific problem, at least not one that hasn’t already been in large solved by Facebook, Twitter, Skype et al.

For Google to crack social, they need to find a specific problem to solve. Circles is an interesting step forward, it’s a nice feature. But it’s not a Facebook Killer. No single aspect of Google+ is. There’s nothing that really pulls me to Google+ over any other social network.

And sadly, because many people agree with the "Google doesn’t get social" camp, Google+ may never get off the ground, even if the individual features are good with room for improvement. Social networks need people to be interesting, otherwise it’s just like staring at a mirror in the middle of a large room. Wave failed to take off because they didn’t get enough uptake, then they got sued for forcing gmail users to be a part of buzz. If they get the right number, they may be able to do okay. but there’s a very real chance they won’t.

nicholas butler

July 6, 2011 16:38

The more I dig into Google+ the more convinced I am that google+ will remain a asymetric social network its unbalanced and whilst it ‘might change’ its worth saying what it doesnt do from the start than wade into it with assumptions of how its better than product X.

I feel that Google+ is an enhanced Reader experience and I blogged some thoughts here

https://plus.google.com/102628325676884235660/posts/5VGYiqZh8Q4

As you can see I think its a super-blogging-platform for comments and content but the overheard conversation is in muted by the current levels of privacy and need for endorsement.

Its not me being Lazy … its me being thoughtful and considerate to what we currently have because I wont sell a concept to a client because I think ‘this shits cool’ I will sell it knowing ‘this shit wont do that shit’

Incidentally thanks for linking to your blog post from over on Social Media White Noise : Your readers might want to hear the rant and considerations from the source : http://www.socialmediawhitenoise.com/2011/07/04/65-google-wave/

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