I’ve been on Google+ for a couple of days now, so I guess it’s time for a first review. So far I only have three contacts there, so it’s quite limited how much social networking I’ve actually done there, so my opinion of some of the features might change as I get more experience. Anyway, here are my initial comments:
- The fact that Google+ uses Google accounts is causing some problems. I have three email adresses: my work one, my private one, and a Gmail address I have because certain Google services need it; all three are actually run by Gmail. However, I was only able to get onto Google+ using my Gmail address, and once there, I seem to be unable to link to my other accounts. This means that if I’m reading my normal email, I need to log out and log on to my Gmail email to access Google+, and that makes it a real hassle. Google really need to sort out how to handle people like me who are using several Google accounts at the same time if they want Google+ to take off.
- The circles idea is brilliant (I actually thought of it myself last year but never did anything about it :-/), but it can be improved. For instance, circles can’t currently be nested AFAIK – I think it’d be useful to have big, easily comprehensible circles like “friends” and “work” that could then be subdivided into smaller circles. Of course you can make as many circles as you want at the moment, but you’ll then need to add every individual to many circles, which will become a bit of a hassle once you have 500 contacts in Google+.
- I guess I’m not alone in currently using Facebook for my social life and LinkedIn for my work. Google+ has the potential to take over from both, but it can only do that if the extend the circles to cover everything on the site, not just who can see your postings. For instance, I want to be able to have different profile photos depending on who sees it. Also, it needs to be guaranteed that everything that my friends post on my stream is invisible to my work contacts.
- Google+ seems to integrate only with Picasa (which makes sense given that both are part of Google), but I’m a Flickr user, and I don’t want to be forced into migrating to Picasa. To be honest, I think Google is going to be hit with some massive antitrust court cases in the US if Google+ takes off and they don’t integrate seamlessly with non-Google sites.
- I’m not sure I like the ‘+1’ idea. I’ve always complained that Facebook didn’t have a ‘dislike’ button to accompany the ‘like’ button, but I’m not sure that calling it ‘+1’ solves the problem. The thing is that if somebody says that their pet hamster has died a gruesome death, you want to have a button to press to express sympathy, and I’m not sure ‘+1’ encapsulates that…
In spite of all this, Google+ definitely looks promising, and I think Facebook should be very afraid.