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Revisiting Google Plus

4 Aug

A month has passed and G+ has integrated nicely into my life. In the few days I started using it, G+ felt like an exclusive club where we got to hang out with some of the tech bigwigs. People like Myspace founder Tom Anderson and VC/entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki were suddenly reinstating their influence and making a lot of noise – mostly good noise. They loved it and everybody loved it too and shared their devotion to G+ and prided themselves as G+ users.

Having been on G+ for a month now, the growing G+ community took me by the most surprise. I didn’t expect to find the majority of users to be programmers, engineers and nerds like myself who were also into technology. That’s a huge reason why I stayed on G+ and love about it. I’m biased however.

Besides that, people were also adding thoughtful dialogue, sharing new content and making new connections. It felt authentic, closer to a real life discussion than what I experienced on Twitter or Facebook. I felt more confident knowing people were actually adding me to their circles because they found me interesting. There was also little to no spam. That was a huge +1!

As I started using G+ more, I drew boundaries when sharing. Posting became more of a conscious effort and I became aware of my audience. I don’t sync my updates among all social platforms. I use each for specific purposes and feel like each has different effects in amplifying thoughts and ideas.

When I share a post on Facebook, I get responses from a core group of friends. I still tweet, but half the time it’s sorting through spambots and obsessing about your follower count. I still find Twitter trumps G+ on the news front however. With G+, it tries to be both, however it stands out by encouraging people to participate in a discussion with friends and strangers. That is probably the most amazing part.

Now the funny part about G+ is that the people don’t get tired of singing its praises. Somehow discussing G+ with other diehard users convinces themselves how great it is. Outsiders AND insiders hear the fanaticism over G+ and current users have dissected G+ more than the Google engineers who developed it! Bottom line: People really want to preserve this interactive community.

I am a believer in it too and actively using it. I’m still unsure whether I’ll leave Facebook altogether or if G+ will be interesting enough months from now to keep me engaged. I am observing my own social media behavior evolve as I spend more time on it. G+ does increase the social aspect of social media and that is a very good thing. While Facebook remains the lazy way of interacting with friends and Twitter focuses on popularity and online clout, G+ focuses on community. To my surprise, G+ is filling in the social media hole that I felt was missing in other platforms.

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Google Plus = A+?

7 Jul

I’ll admit I like the new social media platform offered up by Google. After the exceedingly public failures of Google Wave and Buzz, one would suspect the masses would be leery of another Google offering. But no, the hype was still there, if not more intensified.

I got a chance to try it out about a week ago when Google opened their invitations. My feeling towards it after using it for a week? Google has served up a nice platform and maybe taken a step further to improve the social web experience. It’s Facebook all over again, yet different. It’s also a lot like Twitter, too, much to my liking. Unfortunately the only thing stopping it from succeeding is its timing and it’s a mistake that Google founder Eric Schmidt admitted as one of his biggest regrets with his company. If Google Plus had come out around the same time as Facebook, Google Plus could have outpaced Facebook much the same way Facebook put Friendster into extinction. With its release now, is Google too late?

Honestly, I think there’s still a good chance people will use it. In fact, some may even migrate there from Facebook. Once it’s fully available to the public, however, I can’t predict it will catch on with everybody. Are the features, seemingly a step up from Facebook, enough to compel people into logging onto Google Plus repeatedly like some people are hooked on tweeting and facebook-ing (myself included)? As a well-connected person, I’m already having a difficult time keeping up with tweets and status updates throughout the day. Many use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for specific and different purposes. For me, I use Facebook for play, Twitter for news, and LinkedIn for work. Google Plus seems to want to incorporate all of the above. Probably the immediate concern for Google is will people have the patience to start over again?

The Pros: Organize your friends, acquaintances, coworkers, frenemies into groups immediately (Circles) to publish relevant posts and protect privacy. Video and group chatting made easy (Hangouts and Huddles) and not surprisingly, Facebook just introduced videochat via Skype. You can follow people you may not know personally like celebrities and add them to your circles just like following people on Twitter or Liking something on Facebook. There’s also ‘Sparks’ where you can follow topics much like Google Alerts or following topics on Quora.

The Cons:  People argue that part of the social media experience is sharing and collaborating with all your friends and not partitioning them into groups (or Circles). Timing of release. With Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus maybe redundant. Lacking social-network games like Farmville.

Future additions: Syncing between Google Plus and Facebook and Twitter will likely come about.

Last Thoughts: The introduction of Plus is adding more reason to switch to Android-based phone, namely the next Google phone.

Your thoughts?