amanda k brown

What [Google+] Needs Now…

Posted on: Friday 16.Sep.11

Image representing Google Buzz as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

If you’ve been living under a rock, Google+ is the baby of the social media family, which was launched almost three months ago. Tired Facebook users, mostly technology-oriented males such as engineers and developers, flocked to the new sharing model to see what she had to offer. Many pundits and social media enthusiasts wondered whether G+ could stand up to Facebook, or would Facebook be a concern at all.

Her sleek UI seemed to impress upon first looks. Boasting features like “Hangouts”, “Circles”, and “Sparks” certainly fueled desires for a fresh way to interact with peers, with more privacy than Twitter yet easier conversation sorting than Facebook allows.  An interesting thing about Google Plus–it’s both more and less open than it’s competitors. Google Circles allows you to share openly, but selectively. Twitter is pretty  much all or nothing. Facebook’s “lists” features helped narrow down security on it’s ‘open to users’ club-like philosophy and sharing selection of specific posts. Circles makes this even easier, by forcing you to categorize contacts as you first add them. This means re-categorizing will likely be frustrating later. But for now, great idea, right?

So far, outlook not so good. But Google isn’t giving up yet–it just released a Google+ API, allowing developers to connect third-party apps to its service. This is a critical move, as G+ has already fallen by the wayside. It’s worse than treading water–she’s barely gotten her feet wet.

G+ is the place people are going when they get too advanced/tired of Facebook. Facebook has shifted from an interactive social media platform to an overshare warehouse. From what I’ve seen, even most businesses use Twitter as their main media outlet, at this point. The more robust pieces (sweepstakes, games, pictures, and longer articles) are stored in FB and referenced via their Twitter feed. Twitter is, in my opinion, the premier vehicle for social media and information distribution. What G+ has the opportunity to do, is sidestep Facebook’s “extras” to streamline the information in a more concise, Twitteresque interface, without completely eliminating the ability to incorporate the richer stream of article snippets with pictures and video.

Biggest changes I’d like to see in their next round of updates:

  • Continue using the current tabular setup, but make the “Posts” tab as an accumulation of all post styles into one stream (Photos, Videos, Google Buzz, etc)
  • Allow auto-posting to and from other platforms (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook?
  • A way to group/search for conversation topics–something Twitter did well, and would do well with Google Buzz
  • Easier “Circles” mass edit
  • URL shrinking

Tech Timely had a good list of features to be desired as well. However, I fear too much of the background and color “customization” type features would lead to its downfall in a MySpace fashion if they don’t have constraints on layout.

All in all, Google has a chance to pull out of this ahead. But will they? Ideally, for my usage and preference, Google Plus will step up their game and marketing and take over a little more of the Facebook market share, and Twitter still hangs in there to keep everything else clean and concise in all its 140 character glory.

What about you? Leave a comment or join the Twitter conversation about what Google+ needs with #GooglePlusNeeds!



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