2011-07-12

Thoughts on Google+

Google+ seems to be what everyone is talking about right now - and for good reason. Love it or hate it, Google has just made a strong entrance to the ever-changing world of social media.

My first impression of this new service is that it isn't just another Internet tourist trap, like MySpace always was and Facebook has now become. Advertisements are conspicuously absent, which is very pleasant. So far, there are no signs of the "social" games that so many of us have come to loathe.

Instead, in Google+ I see an elegant solution for disseminating information between people based on the ways they are connected in the real world. The web interface is smooth and intuitive, allowing you to define groups of people (called "circles") based on your relationships with them and share with only the circles or individuals that you want to. You can share messages, conversations, links, images and videos. You can also tag anything you share with a location, if you like, and video chat quickly and easily.

To be fair, part of the reason for my enthusiasm is that I am generally a fan of Google products, and one of the things that appeals to me about Google+ is the integration with other Google stuff. For example, I've had a Google Profile for a year or so, and when I signed up for Google+, it was linked automatically. It's a small thing, but details count, and I anticipate much stronger and broader integration in the near future.

As far as the future goes, things could very well change. They could plaster their shiny, expensive new toy with advertising, throw Mafia Wars right into the middle and fill it with an endless army of well-paid spam mongers. I'm just hoping that doesn't happen any time soon. Someday, its feature set will probably fall behind, and we'll look to the horizon for the Next Big Thing. Today, however, Google+ is here, and I'm there.

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