Google+ offered something this weekend that I haven’t experienced in quite a while. I can’t remember the last time I was excited to deconstruct something on a platform scale. There’s minor things that bother me about the platform, but for a V1 I don’t think it should have gone much further than what it launched. There’s a lot of stuff that they can build out, they just need to observe and listen to who’s been using it to decide what features should be blown out for the next couple of months.
As I was bouncing around from section to section, comparing feature to feature, what struck me first is how Google looks like they’ve studied the other popular platforms out there and tried to compress them into a simple features of their new product. In essence rendering the other platforms obsolete. At times I saw and used stuff that reminded me of Tumblr, Linkedin, Foursquare, WordPress, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. What I didn’t see or was reminded much was the music platforms out there, nor a really big video push. In terms of my own usage, up until now most of my time spent with Google has been with their Reader. I made the mistake of using Mobile Me years ago and haven’t changed my calendar or email service yet. Since Google+ I’ve noticed that I’m in Google a lot more. One of the first things I noticed that was a touch of brilliance is the little gray notification box that turns red when an alert is sent. While notification alert boxes on my iPhone feel annoying, it doesn’t on my browser. There’s almost an expectation that there should be something going on there.
Overall things feel a bit manual at this point. I can’t really push images into my stream in realtime. I have to download photos from other services and upload them. I should be able to take a photo on my iPhone and push into a gallery. Maybe a person can do that already and I haven’t been able to figure it out. I also don’t understand why there isn’t any integration with Google Reader with Google+. It seems like a no brainer to have a one button push into my stream. Another Google integration I want is with Google Analytics. I want to be able to see some data on what I’m posting. I want to see views, clicks, and how people got to my link. I don’t need to know who did the click, but and isp would be nice.
I’m still trying to figure out what is the best way to share a link. Typically I’ll copy + paste the link into the field, watch the image load and publish. It’s not that pretty to be honest. I’ve also noticed that there’s no character limit which means I could copy + paste an entire article from someone else. I do think that ability is a big deal. I’ll be experimenting a bit with dropping in my own posts like that to see what happens.
Comparing the mobile experience to the desktop, mobile feels a bit more streamlined though I sometimes feel like I’m missing something from the desktop. With that said, Google+ is on my homescreen icon set. The location feature isn’t working on my iPhone 3GS. I suspect once the app is released that feature will work.
Time will tell about how much time I’ll use this product and figure out if it gives me an advantage that those other platforms I mentioned above can’t. I also suspect that my list of product updates will evolve as well. My first comment on Google+ was that I wasn’t sure what was public or private. After a couple days that isn’t much of an issue for me. There are few opportunities to watch something on this scale evolve so it will be interesting to see what happens with their next iteration now that they’ve made something pretty decent.