I’m in the midst of that most dreaded of events, the summertime cold, so I’m afraid today’s post will be brief, scrawled in between long, fitful sleeps as it is.
If there’s a plus to being laid out, it’s that I’ve finally had a chance to do some playing around with Google+, the new social networking feature from the search engine company. It’s probably safe to say the tech press is mostly ga-ga over Google+ but, in my continuing effort to be a contrarian, I say: meh.
Sure, Google+ has some great features. As my friend Mathew Ingram wrote a few days ago over at GigaOm, Google’s effort is commendable for its “circle” and “stream” features, which allow users to follow and communicate with specific groups of people. It’s a nice touch that boosts privacy – you don’t have to share photos of your drunken exploits with co-workers, for example.
As PC World points out, perhaps the biggest plus to Google+ is that it’s not Facebook. Truth is, it does a bunch of stuff better than Facebook, like the aforementioned privacy issue. Google+ is also considerably more open to the rest of the web than its main rival, which is sure to attract fans of that sort of thing.
I’m a big user of Google’s other services – Gmail, Google Docs, Maps, Android, etc. – so I’m looking forward to seeing how those will presumably be integrated into Google+. In the meantime, though, I can’t really see a reason to use it. It doesn’t really do anything for me that I’m not already finding elsewhere.
That’s Google’s biggest hurdle to making its effort a success – can the company really convince people to use yet another social network? It doesn’t matter if it’s better, there are likely many, many people – myself included – who just can’t be bothered with another profile and site to keep track of. I’ve already got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to maintain, I really don’t need any more social networking.
Of course, the other way Google+ can succeed is if Facebook collapses, which I’m fairly certain will happen. Until then, or until Google really gives me a reason to use its new service, I’m going to be rather nonplussed about Google+.