Sunday, 10 July 2011


My Google+ invite arrived yesterday courtesy of a friend.  First thoughts:  It's good.  It has the separation of people that Facebook is so lacking in and this pleases me.

When I first logged in I was given a grid layout of people (names and avatars) I may or may not know and I could drag and drop them into "Circles".  Unsurprisingly it had picked up my friends and family. It had also picked up people I have interacted with through other mediums such as Twitter.  I spent a couple of minutes going through the list placing people into circles.  Some people were placed into more than one circle as there is some overlap of course.

When making a post, you can either make it public or limit it to one or more circles.  How public is a public post?.  Can they be viewed by anyone viewing your profile or is it limited to only people in your circles?  Will they appear on your Google Profile page?   The answer is that they are very public.  They will appear on your google profile page.  This system is way more open the Facebook is.  However, as you also have the ability to limit your posts to particular circles, thereby making them private, this is not a bad thing.  You don't have to post anything publicly if you don't wish to.

When checking my Google Profile, I noticed that it was showing everyone who was in my circles and also those who have me in their circles.  This is public by default.  You can edit this and change it so that only people in your circles can see this information or you can turn it off entirely.

So far, so good for privacy aspects.   I'm sure that other privacy aspects will arise as I get to know the system better but I'm fairly happy with it at the moment.

The interface is a typical social network layout but with a typically sparse Google look to it. All Google apps are now looking very much like each other.  Even the blogger interface has suddenly changed as of this morning. Google do the AJAX thing very well which makes it very responsive.  It's a lot snappier to use than Facebook is. 

"Sparks" are basically a news feed on subjects you are interested in.  Only you can see these.  It's a nice touch but limited compared to using Google Reader or some other RSS agregator.

I had a bit of a play with the "Hangout" feature.  This is a video hangout - turn your camera and mic on and anyone you have allowed to view your video will be able to chat with you live.  It was a fairly lonely place for me though as I was the only person online out of those in my circles.

In fact, it's a fairly lonely place altogether at the moment but I think this will rapidly change.  I can't see Google doing a slow introduction with Google+.  They need to achieve critical mass with it quite quickly or it will become another failed Google social networking experiment; a place where tumbleweeds roll down empty streets etc.

I like it so far.  I'll be encouraging people to use it.  If Google can get a critical mass into it fast enough, I can see it rivalling Facebook very quickly. 


lambo said...

It would be nice if you could send a google+ invite to ..