Saturday, July 02, 2011

Google+... First Impressions

So I'm on Google+, the latest social addition to the set of Google products. The immediate impression is that it is a Facebook clone.

However, once I started using the set of features available (at this time of invitation only beta), I noticed a few improvements over Facebook. This is in addition to the look and feel of the site, which I think is far better than Facebook ever achieved (almost surely powered by GWT). Here's a list of stuff I've been playing with so far ...

Circles: What you add your Google+ buddies to. Right from the start you get to segment your connections and be in control of what you share and with whom you share. This one has a nice UI, as opposed to facebook who added this as an afterthought (by the time they added it I had too many facebbook friends, I couldn't be bothered going through each and every one to make lists.. FAIL!).

Stream: Stream is similar to your facebook feed. But it's coupled with Circles, which makes filtering noise that much easier. Definete win!

Sparks: This is your facebook profile 'interests' section... on crack! Not only do you get to add interests, you also seperate feeds of content attached to each interest. Clicking a spark should give you.. the information junkie.. a fix of what's going on any time of the day.

Hangouts: A potential skype killer. Create a hangout, invite friends, turn on video... who knows what might happen? This post from gigaom talks more about the tech behind this nifty little feature.

Mobile: Last, but not in any way the least, mobile integration. If you have an Android phone, you're in for a treat. In addition to a Google+ app for Androind, you also get the group messaging app for Huddle. Here's a video ...

Oh.. and remember Google Buzz? Well.. somewhere I have configured my Twitter posts to be routed there as well. This means that my Google+ profile is already populated with content. Yay!

Final thoughts?

Google has delivered a technology masterpiece once again. But.. I never doubted their ability to do so. I loved the tech behind Google Wave. But in the social media space, technology alone can't make a product go viral. It's the users, it's always the users. Will the users embrace it? Is this the facebook killer? It's too early to tell and depends on google's marketing strategy for this product not the technology behind it.

Here's a plan google. You guys are awesome at context search right? and you are not too shabby in the mobile game. How you magically pushed the Google+ apps to my Android phone once I clicked that button in your website tells me that my Android device is your slave. Hmm.. maybe it's time for you to be a tad bit evil and go through everyone's facebook contacts, see which ones used GMail accounts to register with facebook and then magically add those to Google+ at the initial login. What da ya think??

Update (04-jul-2011): It sure didn't take long for Facebook friend exporter for Chrome to appear in the web store :)

Update (02-feb-2019): Google will shut down Google+ on the 2nd of April 2019. The Free Market has spoken.