I’ve been trying to put my finger on what bothers me about the new Google+ social offering. While surfing in a circle I’ve called “The Edge,” I found a thought provoking status update from Stowe Boyd around the way a “share” works.
This sort of experiment might be good for people to compare plus.google to another world-straddling social network — Facebook — that has attempted to do everything, but it isn’t for me, because I don’t rely on Facebook.
So I see the ‘share’ shift of meaning as indicative. plus.google is intended as a Facebook killer, but I have already defected from Facebook and I don’t believe in a single, monolithic, all-encompassing social world in the hands of one bunch of overlords, however benevolent.
I also think that the real angle for Google isn’t his giant social Disneyland they have constructed, but the primitives that underlie it, and the way that those will be built into Android, so that other app developers can take advantage of them.
I don’t share Stowe’s desire to defect from Facebook. I also trust that an iPhone app is forthcoming and I really like some of the features Google+ boasts. But, what I want is a environment for a set of tools that make it easier for me to navigate the sea of social sites and services that permeate my online life. Google+ doesn’t provide that right out of the gate. And that’s what bothers me. Because I agree with Stowe, life is a mosaic, not a monolith. Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product Development at Plus had this to say in response, “The Openness stuff may sound like rhetoric, but it’s what we believe here… The plumbing is in place, and you’ll see more evidence of it over time.”
It’s too early to begin doubting what will or will not come. It’s too early to really make any assumptions about the future of Google+. But I know this, I don’t want another walled garden to manage. What I really want is something that makes it all easier to navigate and allows for seamless integration with the services and sites I love the most.
I’ll keep hoping.