My notes on Google+: Warring countries or walled gardens

While I was busy with my tablets and Facebook’s ‘awesome’ announcements (that was not so awesome) there is a new property in the social media landscape. And this addition is Google+. While the world thinks it is too late, Mark Zuckerburg sounds worried. What is in it for me?

I am in. I recently got an apparently precious Google+ invite and I am in. I have made a few circles and am in a few. I have been visiting a rather vacant stream of mine in this newest social media network known to mankind. I see nothing novel or compelling enough to stay on. Not yet.

The new web is about consuming content. There are services like Qwiki and apps on iPad that are geared to make this consumption memorable. In this paradigm Google+ cannot take me to an empty stream while I am filling my circles over days. They can integrate their own ‘What do you love’ to start me off, probably.

The first thing that I hated about Google+ is that I have to build my entire social landscape back. It took me over four years to populate, cull, further trim and create the optimal friends set on Facebook or my follow fellows in Twitter. Not to mention all connected services on web, mobile and tablet. Now if I have to do that all over again, as a user, I need a better incentive than drag and drop into circles.

Google+ also wants to do things different (read ‘not like Facebook’) and so they have my updates in a square on the right. Not a circle on the left. Lame! And +1 is the perfect example of a dumb idea made to look like an epiphany through relentless reccurrence. There are more such peeves.

I was happy that Mark’s product, through FBConnect, was expanding walls and unifying the social space. Now I can use products and services across the web with my Facebook credentials. So was Google. Now the walled gardens have expanded into large warring sovereign states. I am stuck with one foot in my feed and other in circles. Eric Schmidt thinks this is a happy situation and as a user I do not. He better listen to me.

I am not planning to get into Picasa or point my Hipstamatic to Google+.

As of now, from recent statistics, it looks like there more men, more engineers and developers, more Americans (and the far second are Indians) and very few Europeans on Google+. I wonder if Google+ will have a plan and a clear strategy to add and retain – engaging and emotive all at once. Or will it join this list of failed parties. Things can change and I hope it finds a niche even if it is like Ravelry.

Dear Google+: I am in. Find a trick to keep me in.


Leave a Reply