First impressions on Google+
After some failed invites and feelings of self-doubt that I wasn’t as ‘early-adopter’ or techie as Google would like their Google Plus test group to be, I got on! Two weeks later and 10 million other people are on too, including many of my friends. In fact, it was almost too easy since I already use Gmail and other Google products. My contacts were quickly designated to their applicable ‘circles’, divided by the varying degrees of acceptable sharing.
Like most people, the first thought that came to mind when I heard of Google+ was along the lines of ’...good luck convincing 750 million people away from Facebook’! At first, the sceptic in me came out rolling her eyes, convinced society didn’t need this new-thing-way-too-similar-to-another-thing-we-don’t-need thing.
However, just like it happened after two excruciating episodes of ‘Made In Chelsea’, very soon I was hooked! Although I can’t explain (or don’t wish to have to explain!) my u-turn when it comes to reality TV shows, it’s clear the more you use and learn about Google+, the more genius it is – or rather, the future of it.
Hidden in the obvious functionality of the new social network are clues as to the near future of the entire web. And my prediction is that people will willingly oblige, or be dragged to the world of ’+1ing’ later by the internet master commander that is Google.
If you’re already using Google’s other services, you could have access to your email, calendar, chat, docs, videos, music, checkout and social network, even cloud storage with one login. Talk about convenience. At a time when we’ve so many logins and accounts set up all over the web that we are about as exposed as a page three girl, this is one of the sparks of genius that hints towards the future of our digital lives becoming more protected and more organised. Who wouldn’t want that.
Google Plus is somewhere between Facebook and Twitter. It has the instantaneous gratitude yielded by an @ mention, yet more intimacy than Twitter. It has the curious entertainment provided by your friends sharing their lives on Facebook, without the need to spend hours of your day populating your own profile with (not as interesting as you think) stuff about yourself.
I won’t bore you with definitions of the functions available on Google+. It’s intuitive and includes everything you’d expect and want from a social network. Instead, here’s a thought about why they did it.
It’s all about you. Yes you. You are the vital cog in the Google machine. With Google+ you will be able to ‘like’ social as well as non-social content by clicking on the +1 icon alongside it. ’+1ing’ is the next clue to the future of the internet, expect to see it everywhere.
Social content will be able to be indexed in the same controlled metric alongside non-social content, allowing it to have a significant influence over search results – and so it should.
We flocked to Facebook by the millions, the brands followed. That’s where we wanted to be, that’s where our friends are and that’s where we’re talking, so that’s where Google should find clues as to the best answers they can spit up for us when we search on Google.
Google is building its services and connecting them based on what YOU want, based on what YOU do, based on YOUR behaviour. You are helping to shape the internet. You are determining what’s good online and what’s rubbish – not Google, nor brands, and certainly not a dictating media mogul.
So whether you’re already hosting ‘Hangouts’ or still wondering what on earth +1ing is; whether you decide to join Google Plus or remain faithful to your carefully crafted Facebook life, your decisions will continue to nurture the phenomenon that is the increasingly intuitive and all-encompassing search engine that is looking to YOU in order to figure out what to do next.
Here are a few quotes from our @DixonsInTheKnow twitter followers when we asked what you think of Google+ so far:
@cwiiis said, ’I really like it, seriously hope people consider it over Facebook… If enough people move over, I’ll be closing my account’.
@karucifer said, ’Hard to compare, it’s like a useful fusion of fb+twitter. You need to get on to it to see what I mean!‘
Are you already on Google+, ’+1ing’ like a dog marking trees with its scent along a path, telling everyone where it’s been? Tell us what you think below.
Not received an invite yet? Tell us how you feel about opening up your life on yet another social network or transferring from Facebook to Google+.