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.
Peter Fletcher says
So far G+ feels much less like a walled garden than FB. Circles is more akin to Twitter lists and +1 activity will be seen in search (I assume). What I like to this point is being able to connect with people without the sometimes uncomfortable add as a friend. Still a bit scared about accidentally leaving the camera on during an inactive Hangout. 🙂
Jeff Turner says
I tend to agree with your assessment on how Google+ feels. I just know that the weight of the volume of relationships and contacts people have on Facebook will keep the average user there, without even so much as venturing into this new space. Unless, there is a feature that does something they feel they can’t live without, or the friends they most want to connect with have moved. Thus the need to have those features jump over the walled garden and for features on other networks to easily climb in.
Christopher Johnston says
Jeff, I’ve decided that I have to live in multiple worlds. Facebook, Apple, Google, and they won’t always play well together. I’ve decided to place my bets on Google. I’m going to use Google+ more, checkin to Google Places(via Latitude and Google+), write reviews on Places instead of Yelp, etc.. This should help me in the Google Personalized results that are relying on social for relevance. I’m not abandoning Twitter or Facebook but I feel I will be using them less often.
I think if I still had an iPhone I might not be so inclined but since switching to Android I don’t mind living in the Google universe.
Jeff Turner says
That makes some sense, Chris. I too feel like I need to be in multiple worlds, and that’s really my point. I don’t want to feel like I’m forced to choose.
Jonathan Dalton says
I can’t see my mother, my wife or their friends moving to Google+ just because. The larger world turns a bit more slowly.