In case you didn’t know, I love social media. I’m one of those geeks who sign up for every other social networking site that pops up. Currently I’m waiting on a Pinterest invite, which I’m going to have to add to a growing list websites I visit a lot. I even signed up for Quora a few months ago! (At least I didn’t sign up for MySpace; I was hooked on Friendster and Downelink back then.)
Given the many social networks that I currently belong to, I actually initially refused to sign up for Google+. Eventually I caved in. One can only say “no” for so long. After playing with the site for a couple of weeks, I offer some random thoughts about it here.
- Interactions — It could be because most Google+ members right now are early adopters, but I find that there are more interactions on Google+ than on Facebook and even Twitter. This is a good thing. A social network, in order to be successful, needs to enhance social interactions.
- Circles — If you think creating lists on Facebook is a pain in the butt, you’re not alone. It’s no wonder that the feature has such low adoption rate. Twitter lists are a little better, but they’re still a pain. Google solves the issue with lists by making sure you put someone on a circle before you can add her. Bonus points for allowing users to drag and drop when managing their circles.
- Privacy — For the most part, I like what Google has done with privacy. When you post an update, you tell the system who sees it. That’s more intuitive than indicating who shouldn’t see the update, which is currently the case with Facebook.
- No Farmville! No Cityville! — Look, I understand that many people are into social games. It’s not for me, though. I don’t necessarily have a thing against them; I just don’t enjoy playing them. Facebook was starting to get cluttered with invites and posts from social games. Thank goodness they’re currently not available on Google+. I would prefer if it stays that way.
- Minimalist interface — I love white space. Thankfully, there’s tons on Google+. (On a side note, what the freak is with Facebook’s sidebar chat?)
- Images — One of the peeps in my circle was able to upload an image that was 16.7MB. That’s amazing!
- Mobile — Today, the Google+ iPhone app officially launched. Before the app was officially available though, I already noticed that the mobile site is quite stunning. I used Safari to access the site on my iPhone, and I was quite impressed. It easily beats Facebook’s buggy app and Twitter’s so-so iPhone app.
- Events — The events app is highly abused on Facebook (some people use it to remind people to send them their phone numbers — ridiculous I tell you!). It’s still an effective tool, though, and one that Google will have to think about. My suggestion? Buy Eventbrite and incorporate the two somehow.
- Numbers — Many of my Facebook friends are not on Google+ yet. I really doubt my aunts, cousins, etc. from the Philippines will be on Google+ anytime soon. Until then, I have to visit Facebook once in a while.
Here to stay?
Honestly, I think it is. But I also said that about Google Wave, so I could be totally off. The one difference between Google+ and Google Wave is that the former isn’t slow. Wave was ahead of its time, and it was down half of the time.
Google+ is also a different case from Google Buzz. While Buzz was an attempt to copy Twitter, Plus is more a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook. Google is offering an experience here that is similar to both but also a little different.
To be clear, I don’t think Google+ is a Twitter or a Facebook killer. The sites that would kill both of those would look very different from Facebook and Twitter, and right now, Google+ is similar to both.
As with any other social network, it will be up to users whether Google+ survives. Adoption is fast right now, but there are no guarantees that the general public will embrace the social network in the long run.
In case you’re interested in adding me on Google+, you can find me here: