Google, Plus – My Thoughts
Yet another attempt by Google on breaking into the social networking domain after a failure with Orkut and Buzz. After almost 5 days using Google plus, I can say that this time they have managed to stand by the expectations people have on a company like Google. Plus one is indeed a plus one site to be on for now. Plus is Facebook with a pinch of geeky Google. The key differentiators from Face Book being the following 1. Group people into a list/ circles and each circle is private from the other. i.e What you share with circle A(friends) is not visible with circle B(colleagues) until you explicitly say so. 2. You get to follow pretty much anybody who has a plus profile, which is cool. It saves time for popular people like Scobleizer, Guy Kawasaki, Vic Gundotra, etc. Eg:- All those who want to follow Scoble (In 6 days he already has 11k people following on Plus) can’t friend him on Facebook, if they did his profile would go for a toss, and nothing on his wall would remain personal. So he needs to create a Facebook page and keep updating that for his followers, But here on Google plus its simple, They let everyone follow every one, and with a couple of clicks you decide who see what updates. This way it seems like a middle ground between Twitter and Facebook. 3. Sparks is a stream of links to articles/videos from Google search based on your interest. So you are always engaged with latest information of your interest. This seems more a filler now, till people start getting active. Since I don’t have a lot of updates flowing in real time, I also keep checking sparks of my interest to see if some new stuff has happened in my area of interest. This way they are keeping me on Plus for some more time before I get bored and move to check Facebook :). This might seem pretty simple and might not get an attraction that much, but it has a huge value to Google moving ahead. Imagine a couple of years down the lane when Plus has a couple of million users, at least a third of those people will drive traffic to websites from these sparks and it would give the edge back to Google from Facebook as the number 1 traffic generator. 4. Huddle is a mobile feature where people can send text to one another like chat messages, where group texting as well is possible. I haven’t been able to play around with this feature, given I am on an Iphone in India. The introductory video looks interesting none the less. 5. Video and voice chat called Hangouts for groups is the most compelling feature of Plus.. This is just crazy. Imagine a Video chat with 10 people for free. BTW I like the way it highlights the person who is talking is really cool. Most of my stream ( i.e equivalent to the News feed in FB) is with very little real time data, vastly due to the reason that the amount of active friends I have on FaceBook is way more than what I have now on Google Plus. What is best about Google Plus is the privacy seems to be implemented to perfection so far. The settings provide ample options for one to decide who see what of the data you share. The iPhone still doesn’t have a native app like android, but the web app on safari works perfect and is well implemented. The UI animations are cool and feels like you are on desktop rather than on the web b. Over all Google plus seems to be a bit geeky as of now at least thats how it look like with all the geeky guys getting invites. Hope the geekiness won’t last really long else, it won’t help Google keep up in the social wars. So do I think it will beat Facebook and become the best social network. I don’t think so. It has a potential and it has a long way to go, and i don’t think Facebook will just sit tight and watch. We definitely will benefit with Google having a check on Facebook and Vice versa. It will take ages for a lot of grandpa’s and Grandma’s to Sign-up to Plus and very hardly will they signup if at all, given they already are on Facebook. Its just a good beginning for Google So far, it all depends on how they pan out. I just hope they allow all my friends to signup before i get bored looking at a stream that hardly flows.