Let’s get this out of the way immediately: Google+ is no Buzz or Wave. It’s much, much better.
I believe Google+ is here to stay, unlike Buzz, Wave and bunch of other Google projects. This week on the podcast we discuss Google+ in detail (I highly recommend you check it out). We agree it’s at least a Myspace killer.
Here are my early thoughts on Google+:
- It takes privacy seriously — Unlike past Google endeavors or Facebook, Google+ has privacy built-in at a very basic level. Google+ has an easy way to organize people in distinct groups — Circles. You can easily place people in different circles and send out status updates, photos, links, etc just to those groups. It’s really easy to send out a link to your professional colleagues and then post a photo for just your family to see. I’m constantly dealing with the fact that I have family, friends and professional colleagues on Facebook. Some status messages just don’t work for a lot of them. It can be a mess at times.
- It might be better for professional use than Facebook — Facebook is at its best for personal use. It has incredible photo capabilities, beginning to even rival Flickr. Its news feed works great. It’s also great for connecting with companies and organizations via pages. But it’s a mess when for pro uses. Google+ is the exact opposite. You can have distinct circles, even different professional circles. I could have a podcasting circle, a journalism circle, a new media circle, etc. I could have content and interactions just for those in each group, without sending out updates and links that they don’t care about.
- But why use this over Facebook? — I can’t answer that. And that’s the major question. It must be answered for this to be a success. People don’t own a Blu-ray player and a HD-DVD player (and both formats could have never coexisted). People don’t need duplicates of anything in their lives. Facebook and Twitter have major followings already. Twitter is great for professional use. Facebook is great for personal use. Can Google+ fit in there somewhere? Maybe, but it will be a tough for Google to fight these two juggernauts.
- It should at least have moderate success with geeks — It’s a good product. It’s powerful. It’s attractive. If Google doesn’t make a big mistake — like they usually do — this should at least stick with technologists. I think it might be a great way to have meaningful conservations.
- It looks really good — It’s by far the best looking Google product. It’s probably the first Google product with taste. One of the key UI designers of the original Mac now works for Google, and is a big part of why Google+ looks so good. You can see a lot of Apple in this product.