Google+ Is Live – Webologist’s First Review

Do Google call it a “wall” or have Facebook trademarked that?

I got an invite to Google+ (said “Google Plus”, which I still do not like). First impressions are that it is clean and quick. There do seem to be a few problems.

The main feature is Circles. Every person that you know you add to a circle, or various circles. To start with you will have:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Acquaintances
  • Following
  • Blocked

I also added Clients, Google (for 2 people I know in Google, so I can raise concerned which only they can see).

So, Friends is basically like in Facebook, all your mates. Family same, but means you can say silly things to mates without your mum and sister reading them. Acquaintances are people you know but not buddies with. Most people will probably use this for work colleagues, I have also used it for other people I know online but have never met. Blocked are those that you block. I had 3 people in there already, I assume from the Wave testing a while back.

Then there is Following, which is similar to following someone on Twitter or Google Buzz. I started following Larry Page and saw his comment about how proud he was of his team today. I bet they are all working really hard to stamp out the minor bugs in the system.

One thing that struck me as a little odd was that I could add a comment to Larry Page’s entry. So I did. Here is the page:

Larry Page on Google Plus

Larry Page's Google+ Page

This is something which may well change. It is obviously going to be a spammers and stalkers dream to be able to follow anyone they like and then write comments on their posts. It could also have serious cyber bullying issues. Really the only people who should be able to write on your social networking page should be those that you approve.

But Google do like to do things differently. Maybe the approach is to allow people to comment and then block afterwards if they prove themselves to be a pain.

Some other oddities with Google+

Google+ suggests people to you but does not seem to use any logic for this. I had a few suggestions today to hook up with people I really did not know. One person was sourced from a random email exchange which took place 6 months previously. The chap had my email and contacted me, I replied, that was the end of it. Google seems to think we should be buddies.

Sharing Issues

Sharing seems to be much more controlled than it was in the Buzz launch, but once you post something you cannot change who you share to, you have to delete it. When deleted, I do not know if it is gone from the other profiles.

Also when you “reshare” something it creates a duplicate entry on the screen. I guess this is so you can effectively have 2 or more conversations in parallel on the same item, whether it is a link, video, photo etc. But it does quickly clutter your page up duplicate entries.

Notifications in the Wrong Place

By default everything comes through as an email which quickly gets annoying. For some reason the notification alert in Google+ is over on the right, opposite side to Facebook. Seeing that Google+ looks so similar to Facebook I would have thought that they would have put the notification alert in more or less the same place.

No Google Search

Now, this for me could push people away from Google+. Not hard core Google fans, but the average Facebook fan / Google search user.

I think that for Google+ to be successful they need to encourage people to use it as an alternative homepage, and this means having a nice Google search bar on the screen too. Not everyone uses the browser to search Google, may prefer the homepage.

Still Very Early Days

It is still really early, much will change. I did not have time to check out the Hangout feature, Sparks was a bit confusing and I could not find what I was searching for.

Emailing Friends Not On Google+

Another annoying feature is that if you share an item by email with someone, the next time it will automatically want to share it with them again. I currently have 4 people to share with via email. One of these is totally separate and I would certainly not want to invite them to a general share. This is another small oversight which could lead to embarrassment!

I will update in the comments below as I find more. For now, got to do some proper work.

  3 comments for “Google+ Is Live – Webologist’s First Review

  1. Webologist
    June 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Another thing, I managed to accidentally post something to the wrong wall already. That would never happen in Facebook!

  2. Webologist
    June 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Ah, realised why it keeps wanting to email my friends – I have them in my group, as suggested by Google+. Now Google+ wants to send them an email every time I post something, and will continue to want to do that until they sign up!

    Maybe have to remove my friends from the who are not on Google+ Friends Circle before I upset them all!

  3. Webologist
    June 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    OK, just seen this on John Mueller’s Google+ page – it concerns people who have not managed to get into Google+ yet:

    “If the invites you have received don’t work, it is because they are trying to control how the field trial expands. They want a dense network, so they favor new users that would know more people on Google+ already. If you seem to be an edge user, who will feel lonely just after joining and will have to wait for more friends to come in, then you will most likely have to wait a bit.
    Your invite remains valid; it might just not work for now.”

    This was actually on Guillaume Spillmann’s wall, who I guess is another Googler. This, I think, is the public link: https://plus.google.com/110479591560176287829/posts (at least I can see it OK in Chrome incognito)

    So Google is wanting to test the network by making sure it is busy to start with, rather than having thousands of users with empty profiles. Makes sense.

    If you have no friends, you are not invited!

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