10 killer-app and must see features in Google+?

First an admission; I liked Google Wave – it had a loads of potential. The problem was – it was like Google wanted to do something that wouldn’t tread on Facebook’s toes.

google plus logo

Well, now Google have unashamedly begun stomping all over the toes of both Twitter and, to a greater extent, Facebook.

  1. It is just like Facebook. Familiarity is key here – Threaded comments, likes (i.e. +1’s). The main ‘Stream’ looks just the same as Facebook.
  2. Friend Asymmetry – Google+ has taken a leaf from Twitter’s book here. You can ‘follow’ people because you are interested in what they have to say. They don’t need to reciprocate the ‘friendship’. You get to see all of their ‘public’  posts unless they add you to a circle in which case you get to see more privileged information.
  3. Access to data – ‘data liberation’. Getting data out of Facebook is hard, and so long as Facebook won’t allow easy access to my data – I won’t use it as my primary repository for life-stream data. Google have made data fully accessible to download.
  4. Circles – Facebook’s privacy settings have long been contentious. This system resolves all of those issues. The obvious examples given are ‘Family’… for kids pictures, ‘Friends’.. for drunken Friday night photos and ‘Acquaintances’ for any semi-public serious stuff. This is a killer feature for me and is bound to be copied back into Facebook. However, it is the ability to group people into your own custom circles and decide who sees what at a very fine-grained level. You could have a circle for an obscure hobby and only send relevant posts (which you wouldn’t want to inflict on most of your friends) to this circle.
  5. Sparks – An interest topic search. A lot of speculation on how the search algorithm differs from a normal web search. And it’s probably too early for anybody to predict how it may evolve. There is bound to be some relevance to the content in your stream and your friends. Probably too early to see it in full action, possibly expect an improvement as more users come in and it gets some tweaks.

And now for the things we need to see.

  1. Venn Diagrams for Circles. Yeah, I want to be able to overlap my circles so I don’t have to add people to more than one circle. This will also alleviate the need to add multiple circles to each update in some cases. Facebook’s privacy settings were essentially concentric circles – decreasing amounts of ‘privateness’. This is of course just a UI nicety for friend management – and I can see how this would be difficult (read.. impossible) for complex set-ups. But it would be fun wouldn’t it?
  2. The ‘Bots’ from Google Wave (were they called bots?). Remember Tweety? and Bloggy?  I don’t really have time or the inclination to participate in another social network. I want to do it all in one place – but in a good way that doesn’t annoy people (hash tags in Facebook posts etc.) So you could add a bot to a circle and it would automatically tweet/blog/post to facebook any appropriate updates you allow it to see. Likewise you could configure bots to bring feeds into your stream, which you can interact with as if you were interacting in the original medium. If only there were one big social network that everyone was happy with *sigh*
  3. Business Pages, Apps? Actually I’m not sure we want to see these things here. It’s the obvious route to monetisation for both Google and Business users.  But isn’t this all about the people? I think it would be great if Google took the bold decision to stay away from this. Depends on what the Apps can do.
  4. Going off the record – Conversations or interactions which (subject to participants consent) will be fully disposed-of at the end.
  5. Encouragement and Momentum. I was excited initially and did a couple of posts, and although I appreciate this may be a relatively closed-Beta… now I’m kind of bored with it. I need some tips, and some encouragement to participate further.

I’m finding myself still spending most of my online ‘social’ time in Tweetdeck which lets me interact with both Twitter and Facebook threads with ease – and these are the two places where ‘everybody’ still is at the moment, and unless Google come out and address point 5 above – this may well be the way it stays.

Published on: 28th July 2011
Categorised in: comment
Tagged with: business, google, social

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