Early Impressions of Google+: Be Scared Facebook, Very Scared
Last year, I wrote a blog post about the Next, Big Social Network. I shared my thoughts on why I thought Facebook would soon be declining in popularity and what I thought the Social Network of the Future would have. Well, I think it’s finally here, and to no one’s surprise Google has created it. After all, they botched 4 earlier attempts at it – remember Google Wave or Buzz? As you’ve probably already discovered in your email box – it’s called Google+ and my early impressions are good. Here are a reasons why Google+ could become an invaluable tool for Project Managers.
- It Is More Professional. The UI/UX is clean with lots of whitespace, and clear navigation/actions. It’s the kind of tool you won’t be afraid to bring into the work place which is what I think they are hoping for – the natural extension to GMail.
- It Can Control the Conversation. My biggest gripe about Facebook at the beginning was the inability to control who sees what you post. I won’t use the big P word (Privacy) because I think the problem was more web pollution vs. an invasion in privacy. While Facebook now has Groups making some conversations private, Google’s has Circles. It has an advantage Facebook will never have – you will setup your network by relationship type from the start (Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following, Custom Type). You’ll be able to control who sees what you say by the circle you put them into. You can post something job or career related and not bore your family or friends.
- It Can Start the Conversation. I still post comments on Facebook, but find the large majority of my friends do not. They simply consume updates and occasionally might stick their conservative necks out and hit the Like button. Google+ is trying to solve this problem. Sparks is a feature designed for you to find web content that is most interesting for you. The more interested you are in content, the more likely you are to share it and even comment about it. It’s like a web clipping service or a reader embedded inside your social network.
- It Can Make the Conversation Real. Google+ allows you to ‘Start a hangout’ in which you can have a live webcam conversation with someone. If you are looking for a way to engage your project stakeholders more, I think you’ve found your tool. You can videoconference with up to 10 people simultaneously. Hello Skype users! It even has a feature that must have come straight out of a “follow-me-home” research: a YouTube button that lets you show YouTube videos during a videoconference.
If I were Facebook, I’d be scared. And, so should Twitter, Skype, and Digg. It’s still in private Beta, but I think Google+ is very promising. The only thing that bugs me is that I’m Facebook friends with about 20 people who still aren’t old enough to vote, and not one of them is on Google+. They are probably too busy with Facebook to bother.