I have spent a couple of weeks with Google Plus and am ready to share my early thoughts with the next big social network. In the meantime, if you need an invite, add a note in the Comments section with your gmail and I’ll send you one if I can.
After the initial euphoria of getting a Google+ invite (the day after it was launched), I stared at an empty screen filled with circles of Email only contacts who were all waiting for or were disinterested in their invites. The emptiness continued for a few more days until Google really opened up the invite channels for the world to see and share. Now, there are people- real people you and I know in G+ and it is starting to get populated. It is not yet Facebook level crowds but the numbers are in double digits and the circles actually have members with G+ profiles. So there is now a decent level of activity that allows an early pass at the service.
Why it is not so cool…
- It is still a tad bare. Not all friends trust in Google as much as they trust Facebook (isnt that really ironic?).
- The warning that your Picasa albums will automatically be shared with Plus friends deters people during the sign up process. While it is a misconception that all private albums will go public as soon as Plus is enabled, the worry persists- enough to share a few away from G+.
- Not all websites you visit have embraced G+. Part of it is because G+ hasnt rolled out a businesses/ public websites policy for G+ yet.
- If you are a Farmville/Cityville/blah-blah-blah-ville player, G+ has nothing for you- atleast not yet. There are rumors that Google is planning an elaborate Games support for G+. But nothing is public yet.
- It takes a while to build your circles. If your circle is small, that is cool. But if you are like me and would like to have multiple circles, some within others, it takes time and some of it is not even possible yet. But changes are supposedly coming soon and furiously to add such features.
- The couple of times I attempted to use Hangout, it didnt work. This might have been a firewall issue.
- No iOS app yet- although it is not Google’s fault as it has been submitted and Apple is sitting on it.
- It is not yet Facebook.
Why it is so cool…
+ Circles is awesome. It takes a while to get the hang of it but once it works, it is great.
+ Hangouts is a fantastic idea. From all that I am reading, when it works its the killer-app of Google Plus.
+ If and when Huddle comes to iOS, it would change messaging forever. No more SMS.
+ Photos viewing is significantly better than Facebook. And the feature never crashes. My Facebook photos app fails a lot- on the PC and on my iPhone.
+ Notifications is tied to your Gmail. You have to see it in action to know how fantastic it is.
+ Tying Google+ to Gmail might not be the best idea for everyone. But it works like a charm for me.
+ Holding onto Buzz without pushing it out in the middle of feeds was a good idea.
+ No spam. Atleast not yet.
+ No games and more importantly no game notifications. Atleast not yet.
+ Dazzling UI. I love the new Google design and more so the look and feel of Google+.
+ This is how social networking was supposed to be.
+ It is not yet Facebook.
I am starting to enjoy Google+ more and more and am hoping to transition from Facebook to G+ for most personal stuff in the near future. I will continue to hold onto my Facebook profile for a while just so I don’t miss out on anything but G+ seems like the way to go. Atleast for now.
Unlike Google Wave and Buzz, Google + seems like a solid and well thought out product from Google. One that will have some legs and bring some much needed competition in the social networking space currently dominated by a 750 million pound gorilla.