GMG Tech Talk- Google Plus, Google Circles

How many of you are actually using these services?

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When they first appeared around what seems like a couple of weeks ago lots of people were signing up and tech media were predicting that it was going to turn Facebook on it’s ear. ahem (Paul Morrison).

The numbers of people were signing up for the services were enormous as there are already a ton of people who use and trust Google products to begin with.   So the growth was probably from people saying sure, what the hell, I’ll give it a try and with the sheer number of Google users to begin with those numbers of new accounts when reported in the media are staggering.

Well Google products have a long history of success and I use many of them daily. Gmail, Google Calendar, Documents, Google Music and Google Listen among a few I use most every day.  There have been a few misses with products that may have been a little ahead of it’s time or too smart to catch on universally.  Among one that comes to mind was the collaborative tool Google Wave which promised real time online collaborations.  I used it once or twice and it was interesting but not enough folks caught on.  Kenny and I edit our podcast shownotes in Google docs sometimes simultaneously and Google Docs seems like it took a lot of things from Google wave and integrated them.

As tech savvy as I consider myself I still can’t get the hang of circles.  It may be just a little too slick and I just don’t have the energy to figure it all out right now.  So my intuition tells me that if I can’t figure it out in a snap that most grandmothers will say fuck it and not bother.  This is a huge difference between Facebook and Google Circles.  Facebook seems just super easy peasy lemon squeazy whereas Google Circles seems like people really need to sort a whole bunch of stuff out to make it manageable.

Google +?  I’ve clicked on that +1 button on a bunch of different sites including this one when there are things that I find interesting and I figure it will share that somewhere but I’ve yet to figure out where that +1 button is visible or who gets to see the post or page that I find interesting enough to click the +1 button for.  Again, I consider myself pretty much a 9.5 on the scale from 1-10 on the tech geek scale so for me not to understand it gives me a strong sense that a good majority of people don’t understand it either.

Maybe once my season slows down and once the winter doldrums set in I’ll have time to get more into it but I’m just not sure the masses will and isn’t that what Google wants to capture with it’s products-  the masses?

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8 comments

  • I agree. But I don’t think most Grandmothers will say “F” it!.

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  • I seem to have the same basic problem with G+ that you do, Joe. I really dig some of the features that Google has added, such as the Picasa online photo integration and the video chat capabilities, but then there are those freakin’ circles, which I’ll never use. The real proof I suppose is whether or not I’m using it– right now I’m still favoring Facebook and/or Twitter by a wide margin. Google Plus is one of those things I feel like I should like more, but for some reason the magic hasn’t quite kicked in yet.

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  • Each of the product Services from Google are as apt as anything “out there” from their counterparts. They are all solid Google version-ed “cars,” to borrow the analogy. However, Google makes two, or three catastrophic mistakes with each and every one of their Products.

    1. Marketing is Human Factors! Google doesn’t “get” that. They make highly effective, well designed, intuitively obvious (only to Google Developers) always square white cars…and they make a specific square white car for each of their “social” products separately. Google products are a house of many rooms and it is not easy to find or remember the rooms. The need to hire Marketing, Human Factor, Graphics, and UI/UX experts that can integrate their discreet collections into an inviting an intuitively obvious platform “town common” that is obvious “as a simple console” to the intellectual and perceptual tastes of any middle of the pack semi-dummy who lives in Facebook.

    2. Google needs to discover Rich Internet Graphics and COLOR. ANY interface that looks like it is as devoted to preserving white space as the average tree hugger like me is to devoted preserving GREEN SPACE in the environment is presenting a space that just feels to “geeky” for socializing.

    3. The only way Google will learn to overcome their status of Machines that Look Human is to buy the competition and then pay careful attention to the intense focus they have on designing for th average middle of the pack idiot. I mean, look, they really ARE Machines that look like people at Google…they even call their phone an Android…

    That Android Still makes a Monkey out of me on a daily basis. Google cared about what Machines that look like humans wanted in a phone (a semi-independent set of discrete functionalities that the Machine that looks human knows are there.) But for a mere carbon based life form super user like me…I am still pissed off that the Droid just won’t flash across the screen “2 NEW VOICE MAILS”…..no, instead, I have to hit 2 screen changing buttons and then look for a tiny icon I have to PUSH to see if I have new messages. I gave up and call *86 ten times a day instead. Oh and if you let GMAIL “take over your address book”….it overwrites all your frequently called phone numbers with NO phone number. Yes, you had that information on the phone….but you never had their phone number in their Gmail Profile…so those numbers are “on the phone” but you can not ever get to them. It’s stuff like this that will make me dump the discreet and separate mindset of Google and toss out my Android this week and go get a Pharkin Flip phone again. You know…one that can still find you some train times, always BANNERS: NEW VOICE MAIL, and doesn’t call my friends on its own while inside my pocket. And then the Pocket Pictures!!!

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  • I am a staunch user of google products….somewhere over 40 of their programs….google+ i like a little more than facebook because it is integrated into gmail….i do not have to go and check another website to see what is going on. As I do not use it as much as other people the time i spend on google+ then is worth it.

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  • I’m gonna give it a whirl but not holding out a ton of hope.

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  • I first logged onto G+ about three weeks ago and I see the light. Facebook is dead to me. My kids don’t even use Facebook anymore, going back I feel like I am in kindergarten and the desks are too small. While I still use Twitter I can see that it will be crossed off my list soon. LinkedIn will stay viable for professional connections but it also may wane.

    Life is simpler in circles but G+ is more complicated than it looks. To get full value circles need to be used smartly. I already have groups of Macophiles, biotechnologists, scientists, computer noobs, and G+ hasn’t even actually opened yet.

    The integration with Picassa (soon to be Google Photos), google docs, google everything makes it the killer app. When did I know that Facebook was dead? When I posted an invite to G+ on my Facebook page and it did not appear in any of my FB’s walls. FB banned it.

    I have 500 in my circles, 100 are following me and G+ is still beta. No one under 18 is allowed in. No one with a fake name is allowed in. Only real names, real people. No preeteens. No adverts.

    It has some blemishes, a work in progress. But there is no top end on this app. Facebook yesterday incorporated privacy settings just like G+. Competition is a good thing. But it’s like painting a Zune white. It’s still a Zune.

    Click below for invites and if that does not work email me your email address.

    https://plus.google.com/_/notifications/ngemlink?path=%2F%3Fgpinv%3DNiDsGuwm-Fs%3AIQSqOvcsQuA

    +Madonna just circled me. If she can do it, so can you. There are in depth rubber duck photos there.

    +Paul T Morrison

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  • I like the idea of having different circles for different groups of people. There are some things I don’t want to share with acquaintances or co-workers, but would like to share with family and close friends. I think it will pick up popularity once the beta phase is over, but that means one of the other SM sites will get less attention. Right now I feel like I have a multiple personality disorder on each site, and google circles may fix that.

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