Google Plus…It’s So Shiny!

Tech

Google+ is actually pretty awesome. I got my invite just a few days ago and so far, it’s great.

What’s so great about it?

It’s clean. Even cleaner than Facebook.

Let’s rewind back to 2004. Facebook was “TheFacebook.com” and the site required you to be at a college that it had registered on the site. The school I was attending, Azusa Pacific University, finally got added to the site. I was ecstatic. I joined immediately and was probably one of the first 500,000 people on the site (there are now over 750M users on Facebook.)

MySpace was also in the race for becoming the social network of choice. MySpace sold out to News Corp and Facebook held tight on the reigns.

Facebook won my attention because it was cleaner than MySpace. You could customize all the pages on MySpace and that drove me absolutely nuts. Add Friend and every button click was somewhere different on every page — I hated this.

Facebook, it was always in the same spot, every page, everywhere. This, I did love.

Facebook today still holds this true. While a photo can be longer or wider, a link is going to be where I’m expecting it to be.

Welcome Google+ to the stage.

Google is taking social networking to the next level.

Twitter-like “lists” as Circles and “fixing” the privacy problems that Facebook has, Google+ is taking the best of both worlds and pushing them into a single experience.

The first problem I have with Google+ is that I’ve invested 7+ years into Facebook. I feel…”stuck” on Facebook. My entire social graph is there. I have over 900 friends on Facebook.

A large number of my friends are not tech-savvy folks, so they probably won’t care enough to fully switch from Facebook to Google+. That’s the battle that Google is facing right now: “How do we get everyone people to switch over and delete their Facebook account?”

Ideally, Google wants people to delete their Facebook account and switch to Google+, and I admire that goal (presumption on my part.)

As one of my friends [who works for Google], puts it:

I’ll be deleting this facebook account soon and moving to Google+. Let me know if you want an invite.

There’s one. Now just 749,999,999 to go.

What Do I Love?

The feature that I really love the most about Google+ is the ability to put friends into Circles. I then have the ability to share an update just to a particular Circle. You can..sort of do this with Facebook, but it’s really difficult to manage a List on Facebook. Google+ made it easy to manage circles, +1 for Google on that.

Comments are so much cleaner than Facebook. The crispness in the design and layout is so much better. You can also edit a comment after the fact, where in Facebook you must delete the update and recreate it. +1 for Google on that.

You aren’t forced to be mutual friends with someone. I can add someone to a circle of mine, but it doesn’t have to be mutual. Kudos to Google for creating this Twitter-like environment. That way I don’t have to share all my information to people I don’t necessarily know, but they want my public updates.

The list just keeps going about what I love more about Google+ than Facebook.

I’m just a few days into using Google+ and so far, I’m absolutely in love with it.

I’m not deleting my Facebook account [yet], but maybe one day I will.

Until next time, find me on Google Plus.

17 thoughts on “Google Plus…It’s So Shiny!

  1. Great summary of Google+. I totally agree with your frustration with Facebook vs. G+. It is hard to switch, but I think for a while people will be using both. I have yet to get access to G+, but would like to get in there and try it out and see how the features relate to facebook. Facebook tells us that people are our friends or not our friends. G+ has the circles that I am dying to try out. Got an invite? Shoot me one if it is still possible.

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for the comment John. The Circles definitely make a HUGE difference in privacy and publishing. I’m a big fan of Circles.

  2. The nice thing about Circles compared to Twitter Lists is that they act in two directions. On Twitter, lists can be used to filter what you read from others. You can do the same on Google+ with Circles. But you can also use Circles to control who receives your content. You can choose to make an update completely public, or limit to just your ‘Family’ Circle. Or you can share with ‘Friends’, and ‘College Buddies’, but not ‘Family’ or ‘Co-workers’. You could even create an ad-hoc ‘Surprise Party’ Circle and exclude just the person you’re planning the party for.

    As you said, you can create lists on Facebook that limit outgoing updates (I have one friend who does this), but they are harder to manage, and less integrated into the interface.

    1. Spot on.

      I really feel like this Twitter-like “List” functionality is going to be the key driver for Google+ winning the battle.

      Facebook is going to need to quickly work on a better privacy and list management system if they want to stay ahead of the game in this space.

      1. I would also say that one of Facebook’s greatest strengths is also its greatest weakness: Facebook Apps. I loathe most of them, and in particular, I hate the fact that so many of them add noise to people’s streams, and that I have to go out of my way to disable receiving notices from them every time a new one pops up.

        The ratio of useful FB apps to useless ones is exceedingly small, IMHO.

        When (if) Google adds an API to G+, I hope they keep this in mind.

        1. Again, totally agree.

          I do love Facebook Apps, but at the same time, I feel like G+ is so much cleaner because it doesn’t have Apps.

          I only use a few apps in Facebook, so I really don’t feel like I’m “missing out” on Apps when I don’t have them on G+ [yet].

          I’m sure Google will eventually open it up, but I really hope they keep it tight and locked down (somewhat like the Apple App Store.)

  3. I cannot wait to ditch Facebook! Please send me a Google Plus invite if you have any remaining. Thanks! braband (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. You know, I have only been on for a few hours but it has definitely caught my eye. So far what I am most keen on is the crispness and the freshness of the site. I commend them on retaining a lot of the same flow that Freshbook has defined. This will make it easier for folks to acclimate to the new environment.

    While I am still getting use to the circle concept I am slowly starting to get a handle for it. Over that though I would have to say I am probably more keen on the sparks feature. I like being able to check in on my favorite interests without bogging down the other updates from friends and the sort.

    Similarly I like how you can filter your posts by clicking on streams. Before I didn’t pay much mind to the groups I assigned people but now with the ability to more easily control what stream I monitor I will give this more thought.

    I do agree with you on the Facebook investment. I went through something similar when Facebook started to compete against MySpace. I was a big Myspace user and the idea of switching to Facebook felt very daunting. That being said though I think G+ is in a very different place. I don’t know what percentage of people use Gmail but I would imagine the number is high. I would imagine this will do wonders for Google and the other thing to note is how differently social networking is perceived in this day. I think we will all be surprised at how fast Google grows and quickly becomes a force to be reckoned with in the social networking arena. Looking forward to the fireworks.

    1. honestly, I don’t think there’s a limit. So yup, I still have some left šŸ™‚ I sent it over, you should get it soon.

  5. Great post Jonathan, thanks.
    I really need to get a plus account, don’t we all? I hope I’m not late to the party yet, being waiting ages šŸ˜‰ for my + account, if you still have some invites, please send it shoot me one?

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