UPDATE: Just had a long talk with @justinfreid, about this.
I’m rushing this post out, but I’m really impressed by what I see. What I’m talking about is google+. Google’s answer to social networking, and I think that google not only hit it out of the park, but hit it out of the stratosphere. Being so nascent, hidden features will come, but this is what I see:
First, how did I get an invite. If google planned this, then it was genius. They gave invites to the celebrities. This is standard operating procedure. Then they opened up the floodgates, but allowing invites. Not just 10 invites, but an unlimited number (I must have invited 30+ people without it blinking). This allowed the people who wanted in to be in, and invite those who they thought were useful to join. Immediately after, Lifehacker.com posts invites, and everyone joined. In 20 minutes, I had four friends, already posting, +1″ing,” adding photos, and commenting. Within the hour, I was “hanging out.”
UPDATE: Google at around 11.30est turned off invites. So there must have been some major number (think 2 million invites). This lets people who will want to try it, try it, and those who don’t, wait until the next round.
UPDATE 2: Turns out next round may not be for a while. Now everyone is reporting how to get invited, but to my knowledge nothing works but waiting.
We can talk about how this is different than [insert name here] failed google product, but that is counter productive.
What must happen: Adding and removing people from circles is the most important thing. If this feature doesn’t get implemented properly, it is facebook all over again. There are ways to add/remove people, but all bases must be covered. If this will be the truely public/private social network, missing the D in DM must not happen. There should be safeguards.
Hangout is really cool. Maybe someone will have actually have a video conversation. When was the last time you Facetime’d someone? The group aspect is cool.
I want this to pull photos from my picasa album much easier. I want an update to picasa that says, share with Plus. Have relaxed privacy settings to share with Plus, but have Plus with the real privacy settings inside of it.
At this point I’m tired, and still learning. More of this tomorrow, when I am more coherent.
Time for a more structured updated. First, I reiterate my statement that google has hit a home run. Everyone who is in plus has only positive things to say about it. The senior VPs are actually hanging out with us laypeople, and answering questions. The community is real helpful when solving problems. In fact the submit feedback section deserves design and functionality awards.
Hangouts: This solves the whole “I do not want to video chat.” It is so stupid simple to operate that you can’t mess it up. Basically you set it up, and you wait for your friends to join in. You talk to them, they talk to you, Done. Simple. The only downside (which has been solved) is that you can’t do one on one. [You can, it is called gchat; a feature that has been present for two years now].
Huddle: Haven’t tried this yet. Think group text messaging
Sparks: Not ready yet. You put it your interests and it curates what it thinks you want to read. Doesn’t work yet, but it is coming. (Remember, this is a field test)
Photos: With the renaming of blogger and picasa, we are not exactly sure what is going to happen. For one, google is now giving virtually unlimited storage. So you take a picture with your (android phone for now). It immediately starts the upload process. (I’m hoping there is a save bandwidth setting). When you get home, it is instantly there waiting for you to post. That saves the extra step of connecting the phone, creating an album, etc… It works well. Read the privacy section for more
Privacy: This is a biggie, and why they are field testing the service. I’m a public person, so I have to take a step back and think about privacy. People do care what their gender is on their profile, or their birthdate. I know this is personal information, and I know that there has to be some settings, but what. As I go through my day of posting, I am trying to think about the paranoid person, and what would he/she do. For example: I just realized that when you post a photo, it posts two locations, the location of the photo, and where you are posting this from. This is a problem if I post it to a public circle, or even an acquaintances circle. You also can’t after the fact change circles. I’m sure these will be fixed, but so far that is what I’m coming across
+1: They don’t do anything yet.