First thoughts on Google+

I’ve had my G+ account since July 1, and I think I’m figuring out enough to say something cogent. It’s not Facebook or Twitter; it does take a very different approach to sharing. While there are browser extensions that will take your Facebook or Twitter feeds and put them in your G+ stream, you should think of that as a view portal and not an integration. You do not want to cross-post everything from either service to G+. Circles are the power of G+, but it will take more thought from users, both in creating logical circles and in deciding what to post to which circle(s). A “friend” can be in multiple circles, so while the circles are not hierarchical or overlapping in their definition, they can act that way in practice. You can set up circles for project teams, neighbors, friends, hobbies, etc. You can have public content, but that is really more the realm of Twitter or Facebook (quasi-public). For example, you can have neighbors that are friends and neighbors that are not friends and you only post about neighborhood business to them. A very different model, but more demanding of the user.

The other thing that I think is a killer feature is the “hangout”. Like any content shared on G+, it can be targeted to specific circles, or to all of your circles, or made public. It’s a water cooler/break room/hallway/team room/living room/party, depending on how you use it. Audio, video, text chat, and sharing of YouTube media. For work, combine with the collaborative tools of Google Docs, and you’ve got a powerful toolset.

So, will it replace Facebook and Twitter for me? Maybe, but not yet. G+ suffers in the Metcalfe’s law comparison with tools that have hundreds of millions of users. However, I like the concept, and the more I use it, the more I think it could replace the social interactions of those platforms.

It already has one big advantage…no silly apps 😉

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