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A Frenchie travelling the world...

15 July 2011

Google+

Dear readers,

I discovered Google+ a couple of days ago, thanks to my good friend Draz. I have to say that I am quite impressed by Page's team work on this. I know, one should not compare it to Facebook, because it was not intended to compete with it. Yeah, right...

It does a lot of stuff that Facebook does not do too well, or similar stuff but slightly better. To be completely honest, it also does a lot of stuff less good than FB: refreshing is a bit random, some elements don't really display too well and posts with too many comments will take ages to load. But this is fairly acceptable for a service which just began and it got most of its functionality right from the start.

Now where Google+ shines and FB doesn't is, as many have already written, in the handling of privacy and sharing. The "Circles" that Google+ use are a brilliant system. It is slick, it works and these circles are not mutually exclusive. So you can play nicely "Set Theory" style with your contact list. Indeed, "Circles" are just the social avatars of mathematical sets. Some are there already when you sign up (Family, Friends, Acquaintances, etc.), but you can create more. So, for instance, I created one circle for my ex-colleagues, one for my current employer and one for each of my hobbies. But some of the people I have put in these four sets are also in my friends set or my acquaintances set. This gives me a near infinity of options to share information with whomever I want and with whichever precision I require.

I still think some stuff needs improvement. For instance, while the interface is very slick and easy to use, I think that post + comments still take too much space on my screen. This makes having an overview of the recent posts a bit uneasy. There also doesn't seem to be much in terms of business related areas. But I am sure it will come at the time they chose right... If I may present a suggestion to the Google+ team, I think they should concentrate on allowing more integration by the users of their own existing Google content in Google+. I am thinking of Blogger posts, Google Docs, Google Calendar events and so on. Speaking about Events, I believe it is the major way to go. No free social platform (except Meetup) ever got this right. If Google+ manages to get Event handling in a decent way, they will simply take over the social scene.

All in all, I am favourably impressed. I noticed that my time on Google+ is already largely surpassing my time on Facebook or LinkedIn. I doubt it will replace these any time soon, but it completes them nicely and I have no doubt that Google has created a very successful (not so) new social platform.