Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reflections on Google+

Over the past week, over 100 of my friends, colleagues, and staff have sent me invitations to Google+ and my "Circles"  are growing.

Google has an amazing capacity to create simple, clean, and highly functional user interfaces that work well with every browser I own (Safari 5.05, Firefox 5.0).

I'm on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, and Twitter not because I spend a great deal of time on social networks but so that I can communicate with folks who prefer those approaches over email.

To be honest, I've found Facebook's user interface to be cumbersome - you've got a wall, an inbox, invitations, events etc.  It's challenging to know what to click and the sheer amount of traffic in difference places can be daunting to manage.

Google+ uses Gmail for invitations, has full integration of Google+ features into the iGoogle portal, and has just the right amount of functionality for me to organize my social network into manageable groups.

The "Circles" concept is a good one - I can place any contact into a group of interest - in my case that's Family, Friends, Federal work, State work, Harvard work, and Healthcare Work.   I can follow "Streams" of postings in each of these circles, making it much easier for me to catch up on communications by focusing on topics or clusters of people.   The "Sparks" feature that includes information collections on specific topics to be watched, read, or shared is less useful to me, since my reading time is generally more goal directed.

I admit that I'm a lumper rather than a splitter.   In 1995, I switched to Windows 95 and Office 95 so that I would have a single integrated suite of products created by the same manufacturer to do my work.   Over the past few years, I've used Mac OSX, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for the same purpose.  

I can definitely see the value of doing email, search, and social networking with a single integrated suite from one vendor.

Google's previous efforts, Wave and Buzz, did not attract my attention.  Google+ is definitely a Facebook upgrade.   It's a winner and I'll be organizing my social networks there because Google+ is fast, intuitive, and part of my existing Google workflow.


Sara said...

I'm amazed at all of your job descriptions, John! How do you do it all? Thanks for your blog, I find it very enjoyable.

Nathan said...

Google+ for the win!

Anonymous said...

Google+ for the win!

Unknown said...

Although we are still a bit early with Google+, I agree that it does have some good points...especially sharing just within your circle instead of with everyone. It is off to a promising start.