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Google+ = social networking fatigue+

06 Jul

I’m in the midst of that most dreaded of events, the summertime cold, so I’m afraid today’s post will be brief, scrawled in between long, fitful sleeps as it is.

If there’s a plus to being laid out, it’s that I’ve finally had a chance to do some playing around with Google+, the new social networking feature from the search engine company. It’s probably safe to say the tech press is mostly ga-ga over Google+ but, in my continuing effort to be a contrarian, I say: meh.

Sure, Google+ has some great features. As my friend Mathew Ingram wrote a few days ago over at GigaOm, Google’s effort is commendable for its “circle” and “stream” features, which allow users to follow and communicate with specific groups of people. It’s a nice touch that boosts privacy – you don’t have to share photos of your drunken exploits with co-workers, for example.

As PC World points out, perhaps the biggest plus to Google+ is that it’s not Facebook. Truth is, it does a bunch of stuff better than Facebook, like the aforementioned privacy issue. Google+ is also considerably more open to the rest of the web than its main rival, which is sure to attract fans of that sort of thing.

I’m a big user of Google’s other services – Gmail, Google Docs, Maps, Android, etc. – so I’m looking forward to seeing how those will presumably be integrated into Google+. In the meantime, though, I can’t really see a reason to use it. It doesn’t really do anything for me that I’m not already finding elsewhere.

That’s Google’s biggest hurdle to making its effort a success – can the company really convince people to use yet another social network? It doesn’t matter if it’s better, there are likely many, many people – myself included – who just can’t be bothered with another profile and site to keep track of. I’ve already got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to maintain, I really don’t need any more social networking.

Of course, the other way Google+ can succeed is if Facebook collapses, which I’m fairly certain will happen. Until then, or until Google really gives me a reason to use its new service, I’m going to be rather nonplussed about Google+.

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4 Comments

Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Facebook, Google

 

4 responses to “Google+ = social networking fatigue+

  1. Daniel Friesen

    July 6, 2011 at 12:24 am

    There is one interesting way that Google+ may attract people. Google+ allows users to include people not on Google+ and share things with them, as a result Google+ will share the stuff with that user via e-mail, allowing people outside of Google+ into it without going and jumping in on their own. Naturally as you’d expect the sharing e-mails to, they’ll include some plus related info and likely a way to actually jump into plus.

    In other words, even if you don’t jump into and seek out plus on your own, if someone you know is on plus and decides to share something with you you could end up dragged into Google+ without jumping in yourself.

    The only publicity attempt I think they failed at was the black bar. I can understand the idea of inverting the white bar to bring attention to it and plus. The problem is that they did it too early. Plus is still only in beta it’s not available to everyone and the bar doesn’t have any plus branding especially when you’re not logged in. As a result the initial shock of white going to black is simply going to confuse people (since they don’t know that plus exists), and by the time that plus is public the effect of the black bar is going to wear off and it’s not going to draw people into plus. They should have waited for plus to go public before they put the black bar on every google site, and they should have included a “Google+” with a link to a plus homepage with info about it in the upper left. Probably a dim “Google+” image that has a link like which gets colorized when you hover over it.

     
  2. russellmcormond

    July 6, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’m waiting patiently for my invite. I don’t like the 1980’s BBS style of Facebook, and hope people will decide to move elsewhere. Twitter is fine, but then again Twitter can easily be added to Buzz anyway — so no real competing issues there.

    Wish the Facebook inbox was universal, as that would allow me to just reply to all the Facebook junk via my Gmail and share things via Google+ to go to Facebook folks. That way I wouldn’t have to ever log into Facebook again, and yet Facebook people could interact with me.

     
  3. Marc Venot

    July 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I wish that you compare and maybe link with the another domain of ICQ, Yahoo messenger and Adium (etc..)

     
  4. Yuv

    July 8, 2011 at 2:05 am

    The issue I have with “social” networks is not what is shared with other humans in my network which is more or less under control, depending on the (dys)functionality of the tool; but the information that is “volunteered” to operators and advertisers. Their objective is only thinly veiled: take advantage of human instincts to get access to our credit cards.

     
 
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