Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What I like about far!

Google launched their new social media application recently called Google+. At the time of writing it's still in beta testing (a testing term that refers to the final cycle of testing before an application is released to the public) and access to it is by invitation only (from someone who is already usng it). Here's my Google+ page.

As it is still in beta testing it's still therefore subject to change, so anything I I write may be subject to change too.

My initial thoughts of it are very positive. I won't write an in-depth analysis of it yet, as it's far too early to do that (it's still in beta testing and has not been rolled out fully yet). I thought I'd simply list my initial thoughts in no particular order.

  • It has a very uncluttered and simple interface, making it easy to use and learn.
  • The concept of Circles is a neat and simple way to categorise the people you interact with. You create Circles called Friends, Family, Mad People etc, and you add people to them. You can then read and interact with just those Circles. This is a simple way of sharing your personal content with those you trust. 
  • Deciding who sees what content is easy in Google+ (friends, family, work colleagues, your crazy followers etc). In Twitter your updates are seen either by just your followers (your account is locked down) or the whole of the Internet. A very crude approach to privacy. In Facebook, allowing specific groups of peope to see your updates and to interact with just those groups of people is fiddly to do. So Google+ wins hands down in the privacy department.
  • No one other than you sees your Circles, and only you know who is in them. So feel free to create Circles called 'My crazy friends' or 'Annoying work colleagues'. Only you can see them.
  • All my interactions with other peolpe are NOT posted on my Google+ profile as they are in Facebook. I've never really understood this, and think it just promotes stalking. I know you can remove them, but the default behaviour is to post everything that I do onto my Facebook wall.
  • I don't get bombarded with invitations or updates involving Mafia Wars, Farmville etc. I don't play games and don't want to see them in my feed. 
  • You can add anyone to your Circles, whether you know them or not (like following someone on Twitter). So if your favourite celebrity, athlete, singer etc is on Google+, then add them to (an appropriate) Circle.
  • Google have launched a Google+ button. This is similar to the Facebook Like button, only it works across the entire Internet. I've added the Google+ button to my web site and both my blogs to allow people to publicly Like them. What's the betting that Google will use Google+ in their search engine rankings? Content with higher Google+ votes will rank higher than those with lesser votes (all other things being equal).

I haven't used Huddles or Hangouts yet, so I'll post another article as a follow up when I've got round to using some of the other features of Google+. 

My impressions so far are positive. It's simple, easy to use and very powerful. In it's first two weeks it had 10 milion users. 

Should Facebook and Twitter be worried? Only time will tell.

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