Google+ First Impression

Jul 01

Google+ First Impression

Well, after my initial post yesterday about how Google+ is going to be some exciting competition for other social networks (Facebook) I woke up to an activated account.

Google has released a statement saying that they’re currently only inviting users with a large social footprint on the Internet. I guess all my status updates, public information, and blogging really helped out during this. Not to mention I use every service Google provides, from Gmail, to GCal, GVoice, GReader, and so on. I also share items from Reader daily.

I only have a very small circle of real friends on the service at this point, so I find myself following a lot of big name tech celebs, like Leo Laporte, and Jeff Jarvis, among others. Although, the service is still a blast at this point, and I look forward to sharing more about it with you until massive waves of invites start to roll out.

The interface is absolutely gorgeous! It looks like Google FINALLY hired some real artists and designers on this product, and have effectively rolled out the same interface style across most of their products. I absolutely love the new interface, and I’m even running the preview of the Gmail theme. I can’t wait for them to fully launch that theme, so Gmail will have a chance to really shine as a matching Google service.

Interface aside, the service is pretty solid. I haven’t run into many bugs, aside from the fact that every comment on a post in a stream pushes it back to the top of the stream. This may have been intended and may have worked fine during the Google-employee testing, but it’s something that needs to be changed. That behavior will not work in a large scale social network.

The network and interactions themselves are a mix between a Facebook “friending” system, and a Twitter “following” system. It’s been beaten to death already, but you add your friends into this really slick “Circles” interface, and it’s how you keep yourself organized and your privacy in check. You can choose to share a post with specific circles, so you could effectively have a “Family” circle, and keep the majority of your posts completely hidden from your Family group. Yes you can do this on Facebook, but here’s the thing, when you start following somebody, you MUST add them to one of these circles, so everyone is forced to be organized into at least one circle. It’s really a wonderful system, and solves Zuckerber’s “nobody wants to create lists” comment he throws around all the time.

The other BIG feature is the “Hangouts” but I’ve yet to really try any, since I’ve been busy at work for the entire day, and social networking isn’t exactly on my works to-do list.

One thing I want to point out though, is if you follow huge names in tech, such as Leo Laporte, everybody wants to comment on his public posts, and you’ll receive a MASSIVE number of notifications. Leo is in my “Tech Celebs” circle right now, and they need a way to mute notifications for all posts in a specific circle, rather than muting each individual topic/conversation.

Other than those points, the network is pretty solid. While it undoubtedly needs some work, it’s a great starting platform, and I can’t wait for them to open the service to the public, and open the APIs so the developers can start working their magic with the system.

I know this is speaking way too soon, but this could effectively bring down and destroy other social networks. Perhaps not Facebook, and I doubt it will have such an impact so soon, but it has potential, and lots of it.

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