n case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks you'll know that Google released it's Google+ service. Normally I wouldn't take Google too seriously when dealing with social networking because they've been completely unsuccessful in the past (Orkut, Waves, Buzz) and in the latter case the results were disasterous. However, Google+ is a force to be reckoned with. I've been using Google+ along with Facebook for the last week or two to get an idea of how good/bad it is. Here's a few thoughts first.
- Looks kind of like Facebook mixed with a 1984 Apple Mac
- The people who are on it currently are techies mostly so there's very little of this -
- It's very easy to find and add friends
- It's got it's tenticles in everything (something FB has just started by allowing you to like things on third party sites)
- You can search your posts
- I don't see any Notes functionality
- There's no game apps (but there's hints of that coming in code)You can add posts from igoogle or gmail
- You can drag and drop media on your post box
- You can import entire on disk photo albums in one shot
- The handling of photos is on a completely different level
- There's group video chats
- There's outside feeds for your wall
- You have complete control over who sees what
- What's missing in google+
- games and apps
- wall posts
- direct messages (uses email)
Facebook largely unseated MySpace because of it's numerous apps and games. We'll see how fast Google adds this ability.
The notes will be really easy if they integrate blogger but for me they'd still need to have the same level of access control.
Wall posts, would be easy but I'm not sure they'll do it because it would be difficult to integrate it into their access control system. Currently when you post you get to see which circles (or all) can view the post. If someone else posts on your wall how do you decide this? They'd have to give up some of the access control functionality if they allowed wlal posts unless all wall posts were moderated by the wall owner. For instance someone wants to post on my wall, I'd look at the post and decide which circles get to view it before any could. That would be possible.
Direct messages should probably be handled in chat/mail. It's all starting to blur anyway. In Facebook a message has persistance whereas chat messages disapear as soon as you close the window. Facebook has already started to merge these two things into one although very clumsily. I think I'd rather Google use chat to handle user messages than email since it saves it in your email anyway and has direct delivery if both parties are online.
Design wise I think FB is a bit tighter and more space effecient. I also think that having contrast between sidebars, comments etc.. is a nice thing which Facebook does. Google+ was designed by the same guy who did the Macintosh interface from the 80s and although reviewers have raved about it I think the designer isn't aware that at some point computers started coming with colored monitors standard. Maybe he designed it on an 80s Mac. Here's hoping that Google tightens it up a bit in the future.