A couple days ago, Google released the their next wave of social integration under the umbrella name, Google+.
One my teachers sent me a quick email asking for a prediction:
Hey, I wanted to ask, what is your prediction for Google+?
What I write here is basically what I shared with him. My impressions and opinions are based merely on what two-minute video and some aside news from a couple of sources, but I haven’t poured much time or effort into researching Google+ either. And of course, I don’t have an invite now, but when I do, I’ll have a better idea.
I like the idea of circles to make friends fit into roles. Google’s conceptualization of how ‘friends’ work in real life makes a lot of sense. You don’t share your every thought with all your friends, you only share some thoughts with some friends. Friends fit roles, so Google is treating friendship from a unique angle: friends are targeted instead of just being your friend, they are your friend for a reason, and that is reason is a part of their role.
Facebook has as implementation of lists which is like setting up your own circle or roles for friends. But imagine that that implementation is like using the select-tool in Photoshop to make a circle but then setting the same tool to subtraction-mode and taking a chunk out of the same circle. In Facebook’s way, you’re removing people from information, where Google+ makes you specifically empower those in the list. Yes, I realize, it’s the same kind of system from two angles.
Twitter is not really a social network for ‘friends’. It’s a network of broadcasting, it’s a humanized RSS feed. It’s a feed of thoughts that don’t need to be directed towards friends for appreciation. It’s just a stream of ideas, opinions and thoughts that are known to the sharer and are thus shared to the world.
My other opinion is that search engines should make their method of ranking known. I don’t mean their algorithm. I mean the results from an input should be used in such a way so that I will known with out a doubt that no mysterious forces are altering my results. I suggest that having my friends ideas, thoughts and opinions tangle my search results is a problem. Right now, social search can’t work. The feature set is too deeply annoying. It’s like watching ads flash on search results now, but not text ads, little picture adds of plus-signs.
For social search to work, you need friends using it. And your friends need to be using it in order for social search to work. And thus a catch-22, nobody does it so then nobody new will try it because nobody uses it. I don’t have enough friends using it so it’s not worth my time, but search engines (Google) insists on showing me the interface nevertheless and it’s annoying.
From what I see, the interface looks nice and the setup is clever and probably the right way to introduce a positive way of grouping people. Although, I have a sobering thought. At my old high school, many kids used Yahoo still for their email. Many kids used AIM for email. Making kids use yet another log-in for a service that isn’t a destination, but is instead a utility service that connects friends together might not work very well. Google+ needs to be a destination kids can log-on to and idle on for hours instead of doing homework. That’s the road to success.
I remember distinctly begging on a some Google Fan forum for a Gmail invite when I was in sixth grade. I was so happy that I finally got one! It was amazing. And here I am again six years later once again. I am begging for a Google+ invite so I can again experience that googleuphoria.
Thanks to Randy L. and David Walsh, I’m Google+ now!