This is a new social networking idea. With something like 90% of Facebook users unhappy with Facebook it is not surprising that someone is going to try and compete with Facebook. Google is going for it. For some time rumors have been that Google Circles would be an attempt to create a new social network. Now Google+ appears and it looks like it will be the project rumored to be Google Circles.
Google+ is in limited Beta, field testing as is said on the web site. Google+
If you take the interactive tour, you’ll see a menu item labeled Circles. As Google puts it, social networks are about sharing. The trick here, as Anthony Wiener found out, is sharing with just the ones you want. Circles allow one to easily create and control their groups. The interface is drag and drop. It makes Facebook’s processes look positively ancient. Drag a person to a circle certainly beats drop down menus.
I know from playing Facebook games where you must recruit people to advance that managing friends gets tedious. Their posts and likes and stuff begin to clutter the wall so that it is hard to see what my friends are doing. Figuring out how to deal with all this is about as much fun as learning to use a new SL viewer.
Instant Uploads is about doing more with your smart phones. The example is uploading photos.
Huddle is a networking tool to help handle texting and calling groups.
Hangouts is a new idea to the Facebook crew. In Second Life we are familiar with hangouts and meeting strangers. We have clubs and beaches and malls where we can meet strangers. We can also tell people where we hangout and people can find us there. This appears to be a very different approach than Facebook’s.
Sparks is a way of listing your interests and being alerted to things in those fields.
Will It Work?
It looks fun and its User Interface is definitely higher tech than Facebook’s. But, Google tried Orkut, which caught on overseas, but has never done well in the Americas. Google Buzz was another attempt at a social network. It did not work out. Google got in trouble with Buzz because they added people without their permission. I guess it is now hard for people to respect other people. Two hundred years ago the USA was being founded on the idea that individuals were sovereign and the state was subservient, the Great Experiment… not exactly an Obama ideology. People that understood were concerned with individual rights. But, they had just given up a lot of treasure and life for those ideals.
Has Google learned anything? I suppose we’ll find out. I know I’m frustrated with Facebook and a good alternative would be nice. That more Facebook ties to the Russians are turning up a competitive alternative is a good idea.
One has to wonder if SL Avatars will be more acceptable on Google+. It will be interesting to see. I have no doubt that Facebook and Google are all about marketing data. So, avatars may not be popular on Google+. We don’t know. However, an avatar represents a person. So, it should be possible to market to an avatar too. So… we’ll see.
Strawberry Singh is an SL resident that made it into Google+. Read her review and additional information here: Happy Social Media Day!