I’m back again having some issues focusing on writing, and I’ve been pushing everyone I know to try Google+, and for longer than a week or so. No, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but I really think it can be excellent. The trouble with Wave is (was) that there was no public release. The trouble with Buzz (and in my opinion Foursquare and Facebook Places and the like) is that it is TOO dependent on location. + has found a good balance between Facebook and Twitter in terms of brevity, location and personalization. So far the big shortcoming I can see is that there is an inability to tag, you can only control who has the ability to see posts. Notifications so far only come in the form of people +1ing posts, people adding you to their circles and finally people making comments on posts.
When more people join the network, the ability to let people know you’ve sent them something will be crucial. I can envision IM, “email-type” messaging from one person to another right in your stream, concentrated sharing to one group, and finally “tweet-type” posts that are public, either to everyone in all your circles or to anybody who is watching.
The enticing thing about this social network is that it is a great place to “Hangout”, as in group video chat. After using this only once to test it, I VERY much like it. The feature which allows you to add a YouTube clip to the group is perfect for sharing music with people and discussing it in real time. Also, once an iOS app is released, presumably with the Huddle functionality built-in, group texting will be available between smartphones, as well as possibly between any group of cell phones. My favourite part of this service is that it is built-in to Google’s other services. So far I do have a couple of other gripes, such as when I am in chat on Gmail as well as on + they are completely separate protocols, and turning one off doesn’t turn off the other. Also, it would be very nice to have the ability to see how many unread emails (perhaps with a similar dropdown box) I have in the fancy new black bar, which could be a very nice unified menu for all Google Services (like Reader as well for example).
Lastly, there is the matter of “invites” to Google+. I would like to describe to you the story of how I came to get onto + (within 24 hours of it being released). I signed up for an invite as soon as possible through Google, and then I heard one friend had gotten an account. I had him share something with me by email through +, and I was in after clicking on the link. It’s as simple as that, I’ve done it with several people. I promise you that this site will get better as soon as more people start using it, and Google will continue to add features based on your experiences and issues to make it GREAT.
I do hope I have given you a few reasons to try out + on more than a trial basis. It really is a very nice experience, and I have said that as soon as an iOS app is released, I’m planning on converting to only + and deactivating Facebook, at least in solidarity with the hope that Google+ is as successful as I know it should be. Happy sharing!