Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review of the day: Google+

Most of you have by now heard of the new Google+ (or G+, for brevity's sake). Some of you may have an account, some of you may not; I fall into the first group and am going to write up a review of G+ as it is so far. I'll break it down into three sections: Pros, Cons, and Thoughts in General.


  • It's really easy to get from Gmail, iGoogle, or any other Google page to G+. Click the Your Name+ link at the top left, and there you go. G+ homepage ahoy.
  • The new Hangouts feature is very cool and has a lot of potential to be incredibly useful, but I can't help but think it's a (very nice) rehash of the already-existant Google Chat features (voice, text, video).

Oh dear, that was short.


  • Adding a post is slightly obnoxious: you can't make a post from the Posts page, you have to be in your Home page. What's most obnoxious? You can't just post a status or whatever, you first have to choose which of your circle(s) you'd like your post to be seen in; a notice then comes up about who does or doesn't have a G+ account, but how this doesn't really matter since they'll receive an e-mail of your post if they don't have a G+ account. Having now pressed the Share button several times, your status or whatever is posted.
  • The feature for commenting on photos is placed in a somewhat awkward, inconvenient-seeming spot: in the far right corner, away from the photos themselves.
  • Circles? What is this nonsense? A bizarre, unnecessary way to categorize people you've connected to?
  • The Buzz account that I deleted forever (or what I thought was forever) sometime last year or so is back. Somehow I'm managing to follow myself. Twice.

  • It is far, far too easy to potentially undo the entirety of one's blog through G+. If you're going through your photo albums (somehow I had three, and I never uploaded a thing to G+), it's entirely possible to say "What is this, I don't want all my old blog banners/deleted images/etc. as an album, Delete!" and get rid of every image on your blog without the possibility of getting it back. On that token, though, you can delete single photos, but only one at a time and that's very time consuming.
  • The layout is just plain ugly. It's a stripped-down, too-much-whitespace ugly hack of the Facebook homepage.

Thoughts on G+ in General

G+ is pretty much a Facebook ripoff. We knew that it was, and perhaps wanted it to be, an answer to Facebook's "evil," but here we have an ugly Facebook clone. G+'s picture viewer? Almost identical to Facebook's "theatre" version of photo viewing. G+'s Suggestions? Same as on Facebook. G+'s Home is almost identical to Facebook's current Home page. And if it's not a Facebook ripoff, it's just another version of something Google already had going on: G+ Sparks is the same as GReader, and GChat (voice/video/text) is Hangouts.

Why are people going ape over G+? This is how I see it: OMG, guys, it's a Google Thing! It must be better than Facebook, because it's, like GOOGLE! Facebook is just SO typical, how gross, and nobody cares there! Google cares! My friends, if this is your reasoning for hopping onto the G+ bandwagon, I find your reasoning faulty. Google is great, but going gaga over G+ "because it's Google" is as stupid a reason as any I've ever heard. Why? Because...

In short, there is absolutely nothing innovative and novel about Google+: it's a hodgepodge of Facebook and rehashed Google features. I find it to be an unnecessary, uninteresting, and generally useless new feature that people are going ape over simply because it's Google.

I'm sorry Google, I do love you, but I have tested Google+ and found it lacking.

Yes, I'll post a photo later.


Austin said...

Haven't really checked the whole thing out much, but about the picking which circle can see the status update- that's supposed to be so you can keep family / friends / coworkers in different categories and not expose your private life to those with whom you have a professional relationship. Outside of that, I took one look at it and decided I didn't have the energy to figure it out <_< It's definitely ugly looking, though.

Chips said...

I respectfully disagree on most points. I really like G+ because it takes a lot of features that many other sites use but none share and puts them together. It consolidates a lot of things I either use or wanted to use. I like the circles feature because I don't like being bombarded with status updates from people I barely know but still may be interested in once in a while. I don't think it looks ugly, but rather clean. You also need to remember that this is basically a glorified beta for G+ and that there will be changes coming. You can always file your complaints using the feedback feature.

Molly Whitt said...

While there is a learning curve, I'm actually liking G+ better than Facebook right now.

I like the fact I can (as Austin mentioned) closely control who sees what I say using the circles feature. This makes it possible for me to be connected to my current academic adviser, but still feel free to complain about his class without it popping into his feed. I think that's the intention of the circles, and something I've wished FB had for some time now.

The layout that you describe as ugly to me appears much cleaner and uncluttered when compared to the facebook homepage.

G+ syncs all the photos you have on any google related program - picasa, blogger, gmail - and puts them in your photos. But you can still easily control the privacy settings of each album.

While some things are still in awkward beta mode, overall it seems to be making changes that facebook should have a long time ago.

Anywho, my opinion entirely :)

Hat said...

There's very little that I would post online if I didn't want someone reading it, and I wouldn't "be friends" with someone online if I didn't like them in the least. So, at least for me, circles are pointless.

I do need to remember that this is the beta. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with G+, but for now, my opinion on it is thus:

I don't need it.

Will said...

Posting on FB can also be controlled - you can customize the post visibility to include/exclude friend lists or individual people.

I probably could make the time right now to check out G+, but I don't feel the desire to. If someone invites me, I'll take a look at it in a couple weeks assuming it hasn't fizzled out by then.