My Initial Thoughts on Google+ After the Hype, the Expectation and Questions

A week when Google announces it has a new social media platform — Google+ — makes for all sorts of upheaval in a world as heavily social media laden as the one I live in. This week I have seen and heard it all! Here are just a few of the things I’ve heard from friends (I’m paraphrasing cause I didn’t actually take down quotes):

  • I don’t have room for another social media platform. __________ already has me taken care of. (Insert Twitter, Facebook, etc as you feel appropriate.)
  • I have been disappointed by Google and the social media developments they came out with in the form of Buzz and Wave, not going to get burned again.
  • I’m not sure what this means for _________…. do you think a new channel will push another out?

scale indicating reaction to new social media channelsFrom my perspective, very few of us are in the all or nothing camp. So rather than being a typical spectrum, there are a lot more people who probably fall into the middle. I’m further on the early adopter curve, along with a crowd of agnerds. A bunch of us got into Google+ Thursday and have been steadily adding other folks who are into social media. We’ve played around, we’ve stumbled around and found things and we’ve just enjoyed figuring out things on a social media channel. So, what do I think right now?

  • Pros & Cons — I see some things built into Google+ that I have wished were better on Facebook & Twitter. There are things built into Facebook & Twitter that I really value.
  • Groups —  The feature that really grabs your attention is how easily it is to group the different folks you interact with. On my Facebook page I have family, camp friends, friends from college or high school, etc and I actually set up lists. Because when I share things, sometimes I only want to share them with specific groups. It was a pain in the &$%^ to set up and a pain to use. On Google+, its a visual ease that should make Facebook step up and take notice. (Robert Scoble makes some points on this too.)
  • Hanging Out/Video Chat — From the promo I didn’t know whether it would be useful or not, but after getting your groups set up, being able to just tell folks you want to know that you are “hanging out” your on, it works. We had half a dozen ag nerds hanging out which was like Skype on steroids. The video chat worked incredibly well. I could see & hear everyone clearly (dependent on the speed of their connection). The fact that the current speaker is featured in a larger screen is cool. Also like that it seems you can set the bigger window to a specific speaker if you choose. There are also options to chat via text and to share something on YouTube.
  • Google users may have an edge — if you are already a user of Google’s GMail, Picasa, GTalk, Buzz or Google Docs, etc, it seems to have integrated well so far and I’m betting you will see more integration. I was surprised to see photos that had been uploaded previously by friends finding their place in the Plus stream. (Read this article for more on this idea.)
  • Limited exposure — As happened with the intro of other Google services, the team at Google wants to innovate & test stability simultaneously. To do this, they limit how many new users can get in within a time period. That means some folks are getting multiple invites but when they try to go to the site, they are denied access. The block will be there intermittently for a while as the system is tested, improved, etc.
  • Photos — The way it works you have a large viewing screen with comment on the side, tagging and albums. Pretty similar but much more of the screen is the photo. I like that.
I don’t know that this is a Facebook killer — that would be crazy to forecast given how many generations are on Facebook in how many countries BUT I do think that Google+ adds some good things to the table. I’m definitely in the orange part of the spectrum, I’m warm to Google+ and thinking it may be able to replace some of the previous Google efforts and fill some things that aren’t available right now. If nothing else, it will give me a chance to video chat with several agnerds at a time. I have to wonder if that’s what Google was looking for…. a good playground for agnerds.

Added after original posting:

Other things I’ve noticed that I left out on the front end:

  • My Philosophy — My approach (or philosophy) on whether or not I need another social media channel — I look at it in much the same way I look at a new restaurant. There will be restaurants that open that you check out. I don’t need another restaurant, but I have room for a new one if its good. What makes it good? What they serve, how the service is, who all is meeting up there — those are the same things that make a social media channel something of interest for me. I don’t need another restaurant but if a really good one pops up on the scene, I have to check it out.
  • Muting Distractions — One of the things Google has had on Buzz for months that I’ve wished Facebook had was the ability to mute specific posts from future notifications. How many of us have commented on something and then it took a life of its own sending notifications for days upon days? Well Google lets you silence that both in Buzz and Google+. Its a feature that when you use it is invaluable.
  • Taking Feedback & Acting on itDan Gordon ( a Twitter friend) had a post on Goggle+ that was oddly like a phone conversation I had earlier with a Friend. One of the most interesting things with this platform, it seems that Google gave a great shot out of the chute but has continued a full court press since it launched. Several people have been playing with Google+ & giving feedback and I’ve been impressed that they have been introducing changes based on feedback from users already. That ability to contribute in nearly real-time is a game changer at launch.
  • Forecast for Companies on Plus — Just caught this blog post from Jay Baer talking about the way Google will be building in some things that mean companies will be gaining from the Google searchability of social circles… he’s got some incredible points.

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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