Blogs & Comment

Google Plus = social networking fatigue, plus+

It’s probably safe to say the tech press is mostly ga-ga over Google+ but, in my continuing effort to be a contrarian, I say: meh.

google-plus-logo

I’m in the midst of that most dreaded of events, the summertime cold, so I’m afraid today’s post will be brief, scrawled in between long, fitful sleeps as it is.

If there’s a plus to being laid out, it’s that I’ve finally had a chance to do some playing around with Google+, the new social networking feature from the search engine company. It’s probably safe to say the tech press is mostly ga-ga over Google+ but, in my continuing effort to be a contrarian, I say: meh.

Sure, Google+ has some great features. As my friend Mathew Ingram wrote a few days ago over at GigaOm, Google’s effort is commendable for its “circle” and “stream” features, which allow users to follow and communicate with specific groups of people. It’s a nice touch that boosts privacy – you don’t have to share photos of your drunken exploits with co-workers, for example.

As PC World points out, perhaps the biggest plus to Google+ is that it’s not Facebook. Truth is, it does a bunch of stuff better than Facebook, like the aforementioned privacy issue. Google+ is also considerably more open to the rest of the web than its main rival, which is sure to attract fans of that sort of thing.

I’m a big user of Google’s other services – Gmail, Google Docs, Maps, Android, etc. – so I’m looking forward to seeing how those will presumably be integrated into Google+. In the meantime, though, I can’t really see a reason to use it. It doesn’t really do anything for me that I’m not already finding elsewhere.

That’s Google’s biggest hurdle to making its effort a success – can the company really convince people to use yet another social network? It doesn’t matter if it’s better, there are likely many, many people – myself included – who just can’t be bothered with another profile and site to keep track of. I’ve already got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to maintain, I really don’t need any more social networking.

Of course, the other way Google+ can succeed is if Facebook collapses, which I’m fairly certain will happen. Until then, or until Google really gives me a reason to use its new service, I’m going to be rather nonplussed about Google+.