So I got an invite to Google+ today (thank you Julio, and Dan too). It’s supposed to be an answer to those who are fed up with Facebook. We will see.
My first impressions are that it’s a mashup between Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Which should be a good thing for me, since I use all three of these social networking media every day. With G+ I can upload photos, broadcast my location, chat with other Plusers, and put people into groups (called circles). I’m not sure why I want to be putting people in circles, or the consequences of this.
Like other social networking services at their birth, it’s not very exciting – there aren’t really enough people using it to make it interesting yet. But then Facebook and Twitter suffered from this too for a long time before they went mainstream. I signed up for Facebook as soon as it became possible to, in 2006. I didn’t know anyone else using it. Not really the point of a social network. I went back to MySpace, where everyone was hanging out at the time.
I joined Twitter in 2007. Same problem there. My usage didn’t take off until around mid-2009, when enough of my friends discovered the joys of tweeting. And it wasn’t until the September 2010 earthquake that Twitter became more than just another internet byway for me.
So, is Google+ the amazing new replacement for Facebook? Part of me hopes so. I like Facebook well enough, but it’s become cluttered. My news feed is full of updates about games that my friends and family are playing. If I want to see what they are actually up to, I have to spend inordinate amounts of time blocking all these apps from my feed. Let’s hope Google stays away from games.
I like that G+ links to Picasa for photo sharing. I used Picasa a lot back in the day. It connected directly to my iPhoto library for easy sharing – much as Facebook does now.
I’m not sure how I feel about the integration of my social networking. I use Facebook and Twitter for different things. There is some crossover of people, but for the most part Twitter is for friends and Facebook is for family. My Facebook profile is certainly more family-friendly. Twitter is like the wild west – anything goes. I’m not sure where G+ would fit.
Google Plus is a closed network at the moment – available by invitation only. Ostensibly this is to keep the network manageable for Google while they get it up and running. But really, I think this staged release is a way of building buzz around the new app. And it works. The geeks have jumped in first. They will blog and tweet and chat about it, and this will make others curious. Are you curious? Probably just a little, like me.