I owe Google an apology. When I first posted about Google+, I gave in to the snark impulse. And, to be fair, I had reason. Google Wave was an over-hyped road-crash, and Google Buzz was just a road-crash. The company’s record in Social was poor.
And, to my surprise, I find myself using Google+ more than I use Facebook or Twitter right now, and having more interesting conversations. It sits neatly between the two services, being slightly more functional than Twitter, and a lot less cluttered than Facebook. For me, that’s proving to be a sweet spot that makes it a more useful part of my day to day routine. I dip in and out of Twitter to see what’s happening generally. I dive into Facebook once a day or so, just to see what friends are up to. But, right now, I’m going into Google+ periodically through the day for good conversations. And, in that, it’s a truly successful social product.
Now, to be fair, my experience with those older product meant that I went into the Google+ environment forewarned. I’ve not added very many people at all whom I don’t know, and am ruthlessly segregating into Circles at the moment I add them. And that’s what’s made it such a productive environment, because I’ve got so much more control than I do elsewhere. And possibly, that’s going to be the differentiating feature of this product – the control it gives the user.
Here’s a few specific things I’ve noticed:
- I have Friends in Google+ who aren’t even in Facebook. There are people who are very, very anti-Facebook, and this offers them the core functionality of the service without much of the cruft that comes with it (mainly, the endless, horrible app-spam).
- Circles is more significant than some people think, being less about privacy per se as about control and filtering. Being able to select only certain groups of people to see or share with at any time makes it a much more efficient social environment than Twitter or Facebook. While you can create lists in both of those services, they were retro-fitted and aren’t in the core of the application. Conversely, in Google+, you have to put people into a Circle to follow them at all, so the segregation is built into the use of the application. Plus, it’s fun.
- Noisy celebrity types, with huge numbers of followers are actually a definite minus in this service. I’ve dropped a couple of “web celeb” types, just because their streams cause too much noise in my own stream.
So, sorry Google. And good work.
You can find me on Google+ here, if you fancy joining in.