Dave Winer is yawning at Google Plus, the new social sharing service offering from Mountain View[what happens to Google's Orkut??]. Dave says it is just a personal peeve between Google top brass and Facebook top brass. Ye Editor has moved from MySpace to Flickr to Fotki to Facebook never quite satisfied among existing Web/Social Sharing services. For example, having been exposed to all the data and privacy giveaways of Facebook, ye Editor welcomes another approach to social media sharing. Google Plus is of interest if it will offer new ways to share with friends and colleagues. But also a business slant is of interest since Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint have come up short in a number of areas. View this series of videos and see what you think – is there real value add?
Despite the background music, one gets an essential overview of what’ on offer.
Circles[~Facebook Groups] has attraction because it makes defining people with their roles and privileges to be very easy to do. This has definite business interest beyond consumer-oriented social networking.
Sparks is the most ‘socially” oriented of the new features in tie-ing together in almost Twiiter+IM fashion people on common interests. This seem “too open” for business applications … and even on the social side it will be quirky. But it may be the Reddit/Stumbleupon/Digg of social networking.
Hangout is a possible Skype killer [depending on performance]; but it is being pitched incorrectly. Huddle is for any type of meeting from structured to free-flowing. What will make it work better are signals – but the list of participants may be enough. In a business setting with lots of communication bandwidth available this could cut meeting and communication time and costs big time.
Huddle is GroupIM/Chat; so everything depends on the response time Google can deliver. But at least Google has had some great practice with Google Wave. Again, this has great attraction for business use as well as social networking – think of the all the meetings that could be done via a Huddle saving time and costs.
Mobile shows the strong integration with Android [and iOS] and the mobile world that will be available with Google Plus. Also the Instant Upload hints of greater Cloud possibilities; but strong user control is the key to making this a useful service. Where will this Instant Upload fit in with Gmail and other Google Cloud Services?
In sum, Google has presented some compelling extensions to our current social networking “state of the art”. Judging by the comments at YouTube and Engadget, there appears to be solid interest from potential users.
WhereDaApps and API?
Three things appeared to be missing from the Google Plus as presented. First, where are the Apps and the API. Nada – not a word. And maybe strategically so – Google Plus does not want to appear to be way behind Facebook in the availability of Apps. Don’t start off like Android, behind the 8-ball in number of Apps. Perhaps this is why Google Plus is a “by invitation only” release. Give the Google troopers and 3rd party developers a chance to create a bunch of Apps for Google Plus. Or maybe the API is just not completely ready.
But that leads to the next question – how does Google Plus integrate with some important Google apps like Docs, Earth, Mail, Maps, TV, Shopping, Sites, etc. Again there were some very big integration question marks still left on the table.
Performance numbers was the last missing info. But because performance for Huddle and Hangouts among others will be crucial to their success, their absence has to raise questions. Again, Google may score a reprieve as this is “beta” or “trial” software subject to radical change – so specs and performance numbers would be a distraction if not downright misleading. So the next few weeks and the speed of the Google Plus rollout will reveal the state of readiness and system stability for Google Plus.
Unlike Dave Winer, ye Editor is intrigued by what has been revealed so far about Google Plus. Business IT should also be too. Many of the elements of Google Plus puts Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint to shame. Now if Google were to package Portal, Docs, top of the line Hangout/Video Conferencing, top of the line Huddle/Group IM/Chat services with some serious Cloud Space with Security, Backup and Admin services they could charge for it – and have a second, non-search related revenue stream.
Right now there are still too many questions to call it an unqualified success; but there are enough promising features and capabilities such that ye Editor would not turn down an “invitation” like Dave Yawner.
Update: July 1 2011, 4 days in and no word or even rumors of a Google+ SDK or API