A number of people have asked me to review Google+, and even more have asked me in casual conversation what I think about it.
I’ve been at a loss for anything really deep or unique to say about the service other than I prefer it to Facebook (at the moment).
Facebook is three separate things: a company, a website and a cultural phenomenon.
Facebook the company is abusive.
They twist around your privacy settings when they release new features. At this point they should default their new and intrusive features to “off” when they see a user who has everything set to “private.”
Facebook is a data black-hole. They suck down data, they never share, and it’s damn near impossible to get anything meaningful out.
Facebook the website is clunky and kind of boring. I use it to keep up with some friends. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.
The Cultural Phenomenon
Facebook hit a cultural nerve. It was the right service at the right time, and it boomed as a result.
Facebook’s strength is that it has managed to cross the generational gaps (emphasis on plural). Facebook’s weakness as I have suggested before is that it has managed to cross the generational gaps. For Facebook to succeed with future generations it must stay cool. It’s unbelievably rare for cultural phenomenon to remain cool once parents and grandparents like it.
But enough about Facebook.
Google+ is the social media flavor of the month, and it’s well-earned. Google managed to make a social network that doesn’t suck. It’s a little half-baked, but anyone who follows Google closely knows that they will iterate the hell out of it fast and furiously.
The ability to organize my connections into separate circles and control what those circles can see is neat. It’s one of those features that users will do all manner of interesting things with.
There are plenty of things it doesn’t do like import videos directly from my YouTube account (as it does with Picasa), or limit my stream based on selected circles, but I’m sure they will add those in the near future.
Just use it, and figure out how it fits into your social media life for yourself.