Looking in to Google+ I felt slightly confused. It was great to be let in early, but what was I doing there exactly? Being offline for the weekend, my inbox quickly filled up with notifications from Google, reminding me to get my ass in gear and get on “the project”, as google calls it.
Luckily a lot of smart people have tested the new project and made some excellent reviews (links at the bottom).
The verdict seems overall unanimous: great! But will people use it? Is it just something for the geeks, like Mike Scobel says?
Will it kill Facebook or Twitter?
The best reply I’ve seen to that question comes from Myspace’s Tom Anderson:
“Who cares? I’d use all 3, but more importantly, I’ll be using Google products I never used, or use them in new, better ways I never used them before”.
Couldn’t agree more.
Will I use it?
If it makes sense for me to use it, then yes.
For selective sharing. I’m already a list making person (deemed as a geek my Scobel) – I’m one of those that have sorted all my FB friends in lists. I use them to control what people see and to filter my stream, so I can see updates from just “family” or “close friends”. But the filter can’t easily be applied to my own sharing – easily choosing the “family” list for the family photo or the “close friends” for the saturday night check-in.
With circles, you can do just that.
For selective reading. One thing I realized when filtering my Facebook stream, was that privacy motivated lists (who I wanted to see what), didn’t make very interesting reading lists. Since I’m starting over with Google+, I’ve now created reading circles as well. Thereby getting the best from twitter, where I used TweetDeck to create theme based columns.
I’ve ended up with a mixture of circles – some are theme related (“social media DK”) while others are based on how well I know them (“Friends”, “family”etc.). Not unlike my FB-lists, but this time around they are operational. In time, as more people get on “the project” I’ll probably need to revise them, but given the great interface they’ve designed for circles, I might do just that. And that’s a huge plus! Because lists (and now circles) need maintaining. Otherwise they’ll get obsolete.
So if you want the most of your circles, you need to map out your network and get your privacy settings right.
My biggest problem though, is that I’m already on a lot of platforms. And, I’ve made the platform the key to my own behavior on it – what I do, who I connect with and how.
- FB = entertainment and personal stuff. Relationships. Semi-private
- Twitter = sharing, discussing and reading. Theme orientated. Public & professional.
- Linked In = connecting with other business cards. Networking. Public & professional.
- FourSquare = For tips and recommendations. Semi-private.
But with Google+ everything is mashed together in the same place – My biggest challenge will definitely be to go from platform to circles.
Well, to me, Google+ could be the king of geo, because you can chose which circles you share your check-in with. Or, as Rene Clausen Nielsen pointed out to me, when we discussed Google+ the other day, it could be like a group SMS. You check-in via Google+ but only address the check in to the two friends you’re meeting up with. I like.
Speaking of which – the Google “Like”-button is called “+1“. And it’s not like Sex in the City, where the “+1″ indicates you + a date, but an indication that you think the page is worth something. It’s not just a page, it’s the page + your recommendation.
This puts an additional social layer on top of the google algorithm, giving you an indication of the value of the links Google have served you.
Have my friends +1′nd anything? Have they shared that link? (yes, that’s now visible as well)
Just because it’s high on google, doesn’t mean it’s the best link for you. The +1 button demands you to think of quality, not just SEO, when you want to improve your google score. You’ve got to earn it. I +1-that.
I’m looking forward to…
Integration between Google+ and Google’s RSS Reader. Sparks seems clumsy and unpersonal compared to my selection of RSS-feeds that Google already knows, because I use their reader. The same things goes for the crude “+1″-button. Why is it not combined with notes in Google Reader, so I can create a note explaining my +1?
A map overlay for check In’s. Right now you can se post’s near you, but you can’t sort between check in and posts. I’m sure it’ll come, if the project takes off.
Some great reviews to help you understand and get started
The sales pitch – what is google plus? Watch Google’s quick demo.
For a detailed walk through, read my friend and former colleague René Clausen Nielsens great post (in Danish) “Lidt om Google+“.
For English reviews, I found these helpfull:
- The walk-through on TechCrunch
- Techie-Buzz‘s guide and review.
- Mashable’s review.
- If you want a critical take? Read Rocky Agrawal’s post “When Googles Circles Colide“. Google have taught us to search, not sort, he says. So what’s up with the circles? Good point.