Is Google+ Useful?

I’ve seen notices on several blogs that people have been signing up for Google Plus. If you are among those who have done so, I would be interested in hearing your impressions thus far. Is Google+ useful? Does it look promising compared to Facebook? Is it like an Android tablet when you already have an iPad? What do you like or dislike about it?

HT Jim West

  • Brad Matthies

    I’m not sure yet. I suspect Google will be tweaking it as it goes. It does have something called “hangouts”. I had the opportunity to participate in a hangout that was created by a someone who works for one of the major search engines. However, I was busy at the time. If she does another educational session I’ll invite you.

    http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=1257349&rd=1

    “Use live video chat that puts you in the same room together!Coordinate plans, whether it’s working on a project or meeting up for coffee.”

  • James Ernest

    I originally signed up for Facebook because my kids were on it. I added other family members and friends. Friends were in diverse categories: church friends, hometown friends from years ago, local friends, college friends, etc. Then as time went by business and professional contacts started friending me. What to do? Some of them have become familiar friends with whom I discuss family matters, some not. I didn’t want to refuse them. But it can be uncomfortable to post things for my kids or familiar friends knowing that business contacts may see them as well. Plus if my kids and I aren’t careful, we can easily expose my kids’ Facebook walls to my business contacts. Facebook is a huge  mishmash, and available features (privacy settings, groups, etc.) are inadequate for putting it reliably in order. It’s bonkers.

    By comparison, Google Plus is simple and clear. I put every new contact into one or more circles, and every time I post something I can designate which circles will see it. I have not entirely figured out everything about it (If you put me in one of your circles, but I don’t put you in any of my circles, will I see things that you post or not?). But my initial impression is: this is a much more rational, simple, and controllable way of arranging things. And I expect that if I put a little bit of time into finding answers to questions like the one I just noted, I will find answers. And then I’ll know.

    Facebook seems to tell me: “Don’t you think too much about who sees what you post, or what you see from the vast mounds of crap that we encourage all your undifferentiated throng of friends to post by creating and enabling stupid quizzes and games. Within certain basic parameters we allow you to set, we’ll decide what you see and what you show to whom. Even if you ask we won’t tell you how we’re deciding. And the moment you do begin to figure out how to make us do what you want, we’ll randomly change the whole setup to throw you back into confusion.” I’m pretty tired of that. E.g., I went to the trouble of putting my FB friends in to categories, and I’m pretty sure that at one point I was able to specify that a particular post was to go only to this or that group; but that capability disappeared in one of FB’s almost monthly revampings.

    I’m not going to ditch FB altogether right now, but I’m seriously considering “unfriending” all my business and academic contacts on FB–even the ones whom I consider to be actual friends in the usual sense of the word–and asking them to find me on Google Plus. I’m connecting with nonacademic friends on Google Plus as well–should work fine because I can sort people into circles. They will know they’re in one or more of my circles. They won’t know which one(s).

    Btw, I still seem to be able to send G+ invitations. If you want one, send me your email address.

    • http://twitter.com/cojadate cojadate

      That’s the best pro-Google+ argument I’ve read so far. Previous to reading this I would have said that only the early adopter technophile crowd would use Google+.

  • http://defunctidiom.wordpress.com/ Kerry

    It doesn’t have all the fancy stuff, or the people, that facebook does yet, but I like it a lot more. I think it will be more suited to actually networking and connecting with people rather than teenagers. I hope.

  • http://irrco.org Ian

    I love it. It is a combination of Facebook, Twitter and something like Tumblr. You can do facebook style sharing with your friends. You can publish little posts or notifications that anyone can see, and you can organise people into interest groups, so you don’t send anti-mythicist-polemic to your grandma. I can see it unifying lots of communication channels. 

    But I also think that there’s probably quite a bit of work going on at Facebook to bring out features that compete.

    What you can’t do on Google+ is build a farm or take over the galaxy, which is not a bad thing, imho.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428470021 Jonathan Hendry

    I’m on Google+, but I haven’t really used it much. Few of my friends are on it, and I habitually go to Facebook anyway. I suppose it’ll be more like LinkedIn for me. LinkedIn has some facebook-like aspects now, with status updates and whatnot, but I don’t really see any point in using it that way except to post “I need a job!”.

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