Okay, this is more about Google+ than about any Friday Finds that I may have stumbled across. We should be back to our usual Friday Finds format next week.
As many of you know, Google+ is the end all and be all of social networks. It is supposed to put Facebook to shame, and hammer in the last nail of MySpace’s coffin. It is supposed to revolutionize how we socialize on the internet. And, from what I heard, is supposed to cure several major diseases while making unhip people that much cooler.
At least, that was what I kept hearing. I really had no way of judging what it was really like because I was not allowed in. Unlike seemingly the rest of the world (more on this later), I had not gotten an invite to join. At least, I had not gotten an invite to join until this past week. So not I’m in. Take that, Google+ bouncer. You can’t keep all the uncool people out forever.
But I digress.
Anyhow, I decided to take a casual glance around, at least until the Google+ bouncer realized I somehow slipped in and boots me out for not being cool enough. The first thing I noticed it at it took my Gmail address book and treated it as the pull list for my friends and potential friends. Since I don’t use my Gmail account for much, I was a bit shocked when it came up with two more names in addition to the person who invited me. I soon figured out that these two people (myself being one of them) were people I had sent pictures to from my phone. I also figured out that my phone was using my Gmail account to send my pictures.
Having these three names, I went to the circles to organize them. I was actually surprised at how easily it was to drag and drop them into various circles for organization, and to create new circles. I know Facebook has group options or friends, but the circles were much easier to navigate and organize. Of course, looking at my circles, I realized something about Google+.
No one is on it. At least, no one that I know on Facebook is on it. Granted, I only have a small circle of Facebook friends (76, and some of those are duplicates), but I have not found any of them on Google+. All this time I thought I was just uncool enough to be a part of Google+ and now I realize that I was not the only one.
Anyway, like Facebook, Google+ will suggest friends for you. Unlike Facebook, I can’t see any logic as to who is suggested. I’m looking at a gigantic list of people, and I don’t recognize any of them. Well, that’s not true, “MySpace” Tom is in that list, which makes me wonder what is happening with MySpace. The rest of the list is just a whole bunch of “Who the Hell are you?” At least with Facebook’s suggestions, there is a certain degree of logic as to who is put on your suggested friends list (same friends, similar interests, etc.). I cannot figure out what Google+ stream of logic is.
Moving on, I decided to check out the stream option. As near as I can tell, this is supposed to be quite similar to the Facebook feed. It is a bit tough to tell because, well, I have no friends on Google+. No friends equals no streams from friends. So, my stream is more like a tiny brook during a drought.
Google+ also offers sparks, which are your interests. Unlike the groups of Facebook, the sparks are more of less saved searches. Once you click on a site that comes up, you are pretty much out of Google+.
I passed on the pictures section since I don’t really have a lot of pics to actually submit to the site and moved onto the Profile section. Looking over the profile section, It looks a bit anemic to me. Facebook’s profile section allows for so much more than Google+ profile section, like interests, favorite tv shows, and the like. As near as I can tell, nothing on the profile page actually is used to determine who might be possible friends on Google+. More can be done to improve this part of the site.
The most recent addition to Google+ are games. There are not a lot of games on there, and they are pretty much the same ones that Facebook has. It does have Bejeweled Blitz, so it does have that going for it.
As for whether or not Google+ is going to put Facebook out to pasture, I am not so sure about that. The biggest draw or Google+, the circles, is something that Facebook could easily integrate into a new version if they chose to. And, Google+’s exclusivity is keeping out a lot of people who might actually look to try it out. I can see continued exclusivity working against Google+ as people who can’t get an invite grow more uninterested in trying it out. I don’t even think that dropping the exclusivity in the near future will really hurt Facebook since the features in Google+ are not all that spectacular.