I’ve seen a bit of information over the past few days about Google+. I’m told it is trying to rival Facebook as a social media hub. I like to stay on the cutting edge of technology and social media, so I wanted to do some research and be informed. I couldn’t just sign up for the service because they are in beta and you can only get in with an invite.
Then my phone vibrated, letting me know I had a new email.
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it wasn’t a Google+ invitation. My friend Bryan J Busch, who hosts podcasts over at Consumerism Commentary, sent me an invite and made me one of the first people to join Google’s new social networking platform.
The best thing I’ve found about Google+ is the opportunity to start from scratch, and to place your connections into groups as you build them. I like to think I’m a smart person but Facebook’s privacy settings are confusing. I’m sure there are ways to limit sharing and manage privacy, but because it’s not right in front of my face, I don’t want to deal with it. With Google+, they put a priority on helping you manage who gets to see what. You build circles and put people in them, and then you share things according to which circles should have permission to see something.
Even if Facebook added circles tomorrow, I wouldn’t go back and arrange my 400+ friends into different circles. It would be too much of a pain. However, now that I’m starting over from scratch again with Google+, it’s easy to manage circles and put people in their proper buckets. The “circles” feature is nice, but I really think the combination of circles with a blank slate is the reason I’m digging The Plus.
Why it Could Beat Facebook
If I were to name Facebook’s two biggest drawbacks, it would be the lack of simple privacy control, and the fact that my mom is on Facebook. I love my mom, and I personally don’t care if she sees my whole profile. I don’t drink, so I don’t have to worry about being tagged in compromising pictures. However, lots of people I know would never let their mom see half the stuff they post. When new technology gets old enough that it is massively adopted by old people, young people start to lose interest.
Google+ isn’t really any groundbreaking technology, but it is new, which means it will take a while for the older generation to adopt it. If it gets popular, it will be overrun with young people who learned their lessons from Facebook and set up a “Family” circle immediately after signing up. These people will share whatever they want with their friends, and then when Mom and Dad finally show up in a few years, they will already have the privacy settings locked in. If they set the privacy settings well enough, they can essentially ignore Mom and Dad completely and continue as if they weren’t there.
It Needs a Nickname
I referred to it as “The Plus” earlier because my stupid pinky finger can never find that stupid plus button up there. For some reason, the pinky thinks the “+” is somewhere near the “7” because I’m never even close to hitting the right key. For the sake of easy typing, I think we should all just refer to it as “The Plus”.
I also just dislike the way Google+ looks. It’s very odd to see a plus sign attached to the end of a word. It doesn’t look natural, and like I said before, it definitely isn’t a natural typing motion for me. I truly believe that if this network is going to survive, it will need to rebrand itself quickly as “The Plus” or something else equally simple. Maybe “TP” for short. It’s always nice to share a nickname with something that wipes dirty butts or houses Native Americans.
Let’s Give it a Shot
The look and feel is very Facebooky, mixed with a lot of Google’s signature white space. I’m also not being assaulted with ads, so it’s a pleasant browsing experience. I’m sure Google will want to monetize this site at some point, and that’s where it will start to be less cool and more like the Facebook we all know and hate. But until then, I’m gonna have some fun with it.
If you want to get involved and don’t already have an invite, drop your email in the comments section. Free invites to the first 500ish people!
Invites are open again (as of noon on 7/18) so leave a comment with your email and I’ll send you an invite. If you feel the need to thank me for your invite, feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on twitter.
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