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June 28, 2011 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Last night Google quietly rolled out Google+ to a limited beta release. Unified across all Google sites, Google+ is the company's latest and perhaps most serious attempt to enter the social networking space. As Facebook surpasses Google in some key user metrics, Google's efforts may already be too late

The single most recognizable new feature of Google+ is a black taskbar, coming soon to every Google site, which unifies the social sharing process. The other primary features of Google+ are:

Circles: A group management system that organizes contacts into groups to optimize sharing. What's new about this system is that the UI is "as pleasant as possible" and allows for a high level of privacy control.

Sparks: "A sharing engine;" Users "enter an interest you have and Google goes out and finds elements on the web that they think you’ll care about. These can be links to blog posts, videos, books — anything that Google searches for. If you find something you like, you can click on an item to add it to your interest list (where it will stay for you to quickly refer to anytime you want)."

Huddle: "A group messaging app that works across Android, iPhone, and SMS to allow you to communicate with the people in certain Circles."

Hangouts: A way to let others in your circles know that you are interested and available for a video chat.
posted by 2bucksplus (178 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I dunno - the social media scene seems to turn viciously on their providers pretty regularly. It seems wise to have a readymade haven all set for a potential Facebook Exodus.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:30 AM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


DO NOT WANT.

Seriously, this is going to go the way of Google Buzz.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


allows for a high level of privacy control.

that's (high level of (privacy control)) not ((high level of privacy) control) I assume. Because obviously Google is still going to be able to view/sell everything you do. That's why all of these corporations are trying to monetize human relationships. After all, we already had the underlying technologies in the form of the Internet.
posted by DU at 11:32 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone in this? Can we get an invite exchange going? I am curious about this thing.
posted by Mister_A at 11:33 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The other primary features of Google+ are:

Circles


That sums up social networking pretty well.
posted by Taft at 11:34 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've being hearing commercials for bing search which apparently allows my friends to see my search results. Really? Why in the world would I want people to know what I'm searching for? I'm also not happy about other sites defaulting to use my facebook identity for their comments. I don't want this. I'm sure that many other people think this is a good thing but not everyone does.
posted by rdr at 11:34 AM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


This seems to be designed like Wave was, with very specific use patterns in mind. Whatever happened to generalized tools? Why can't they resist the urge to try to engineer the user?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"may already be too late"

because, as well all know, once something takes hold on the 'Net it never, ever changes hands or focus
posted by victors at 11:35 AM on June 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


The best thing I can say about Buzz is that it was very easy to opt out. That's one feature I hope Google brings to +.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:36 AM on June 28, 2011


roomthreeseventeen: “DO NOT WANT. Seriously, this is going to go the way of Google Buzz.”

Why?
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


uh, so that's why I've randomly had a black Google taskbar the past few days. I've been looking around wondering how I wound up with that and being rather puzzled. I'll investigate further and see if there's any kind of invites involved for those who care.
posted by zachlipton at 11:37 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The single most recognizable new feature of Google+ is a black taskbar

I wondered what was up with that. I have it on Google Reader, and now that I look, all the other Google stuff. So apparently I have Google+.

...Yay?
posted by Gator at 11:37 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, I meant Google Wave, not Google Buzz. Although I used Google Buzz for about 3 seconds before turning it off.

Why? I didn't have a use for yet another social media platform. I need one. FB works fine.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2011


It's amusing when Google itself comes up with product names that are impossible to Google.
posted by RogerB at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


NOT. ORKUT. ENOUGH.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:39 AM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is designed for sharing with small groups — like colleagues, college roommates or hiking friends — instead of with all of a user’s friends or the entire Web.

Odd. That's what I use my LJ for...

Personally -- I suspect that FB's has peaked, and that something else may come along, but I also suspect that that new thing will be a totally new player, and not anything from the established ones.

As soon as enough people are on that new site, whatever it may be, I'm ready to jump.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:41 AM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure what Google expects. I don't have any Google friends or contacts, and pretty much everyone I know is on Facebook.
posted by Cloud King at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wave 4 life
posted by Taft at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


You are right, Cloud King, this is just a ploy to get Google employees more friends!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:44 AM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


The problem with this is I don't want it. I know that sounds flip, but for me Facebook does a fine job of sharing things with my friends. I haven't ever said to myself, "I wish Facebook did X" or "I hate that Facebook does Y".

But what got people onto Facebook (and Myspace before it) was the feeling that their friends were already there and they were missing something cool by not joining. If Google can somehow create this impression they might have a chance, otherwise this will join Wave on the social scrapheap.
posted by tommasz at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also I can't believe Google still doesn't let us customize the top menu bar on their websites. I never use Shopping, but I would love to add Books and Reader to it
posted by Cloud King at 11:47 AM on June 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


Google's the wrong answer, as is any other Facebook-like monolith that crops up.

It's a damn shame that the mantle of open-source, distributed social networking was taken up by people who don't even remotely have the chops for it. It's the right idea being brought into disrepute by the wrong implementers. If people could use open ID and their own choice of hosting or even self-hosting to opt into social networking, it might or might not be a massive benefit privacy-wise (revealed once, your content would be spidered so there'd be a copy of it somwhere even if you removed it later) but at least your social network wouldn't be the monetizable property of a particular company.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:48 AM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't know man, this thing, from the tour I was able to take, seems like it's incredibly simple to use. Far simpler than Wave, and easier to get your head around too. I don't think it's going to put FB out of business but I wouldn't be shocked if it gained a decent userbase. Again, this is only based on the brief tour, but the features it offers, and the way you use those features, seems much more intuitive than FB.
posted by Mister_A at 11:50 AM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


This might do well. Google doesn't just have a string of failures to their name, they have a built-in user base, and Facebook is actually rather bad as a social network, because the privacy controls are just awful (if you friend a family member, you have to bend over backwards to make sure they don't see everything on your page. Additionally, Zuckerberg is on record as thinking privacy is a thing of the past, and so a lot of people have started to opt out of Facebook, and I suspect others would as well if it didn't mean detaching from a huge base of friends they could not locate elsewhere.

I doubt this will displace Facebook -- it's enormously useful, in some ways. But if it does well the things that Facebook does poorly, it could find users. Twitter is doing just fine, and, in theory, it duplicates part of what Facebook does. It just does it better.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate to make this the complain-about-a-product-I-enjoy-for-free thread, but I still don't have the GMail people widget. Are there any secrets to turning this on faster?
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:54 AM on June 28, 2011


can we talk about how google's original social networking app AKA gmail, has gotten bloated and sucky and crashes google's own goddamn browser because of it's use of Adobe FlashTM?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2011


ennui.bz, gmail works even if you have Flashblock, so you don't have to deal with Flash.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:56 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, well, I want this because I still hate facebook and still want a replacement for it, especially now that google is letting me use my apps account as my primary account for just about everything. But when I try to sign up for updates about it, I get a server error. :(
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:57 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this were part of google apps (for your domain) I could see it being a great collaboration tool.

"Circles" become teams, group chats with a team, etc.

If it's easy and less icky than facebook, it might have a chance. I'm not rooting for Google necessarily, but I'd like to see FB have some real competition.

this piqued my interest more than G++ though.
posted by device55 at 11:58 AM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Google: how about you spend more time working on what you do best: search.

And while you are working on my pony projects, kill off eHow, Squidoo and the like permanently by executing every motherfucking last one of 'em.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:00 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


google's original social networking app AKA gmail

Wait, we're calling email a social networking app now?
posted by me3dia at 12:05 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're calling email a social networking app now?

Email isn't the only thing Gmail does, and hasn't been for years.
posted by rollbiz at 12:08 PM on June 28, 2011


It is designed for sharing with small groups — like colleagues, college roommates or hiking friends — instead of with all of a user’s friends or the entire Web.

Actually that's a misstatement. It should be something like "It's designed to enable sharing with small groups...instead of forcing you to share with the entire Web."

The "circles" you create can be as small (1 person) or as large (the web, aka "public") as you like. There are separate privacy controls for the information you share (pictures, profile) as well.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:08 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're calling email a social networking app now?

What else would you call it? Facebook is just an elaborate version of mail with baroque media-laden finger files and obfuscated cc:.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:11 PM on June 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


I agree with PhoBWanKenobi about hating Facebook and wanting a replacement for it, so I hope this succeeds just on principle.

I also find that Facebook is pretty crappy for actually sharing things and not just posting status updates. I keep my Facebook account (which I grudgingly have to keep in touch with family) locked down tight, so anything I share only goes out to my small list of friends, which is not necessarily what I want when I'm posting an amusing link. There is no easy way to see if someone "reshared" or whatever my link. On the backend, I find Facebook's free analytics to be very cryptic for site owners. There is no archive, and no way of searching for that restaurant review that someone posted a couple of months ago. And woe betide my news feed when one of my relatives starts playing Farmville again -- any shared items get pushed off the page and I will likely never know they existed.

Perhaps some of these limitations could be overcome by a power user, but I am not a power user and neither are most people. I loved the way Buzz shared links (simple, attractive), and I barring some miracle non-evil third party solution I hope Google+ overcomes Buzz's limitations and gains popularity.
posted by jess at 12:12 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


But what got people onto Facebook (and Myspace before it) was the feeling that their friends were already there and they were missing something cool by not joining. If Google can somehow create this impression they might have a chance, otherwise this will join Wave on the social scrapheap.

I agree, but I feel like Circles and Hangouts might just do the trick here. It's still a long-shot, but there's some compelling value there. Group messaging is already a pretty hot space and there's plenty of demand for it that hasn't yet been met by the startups there. Think college students texting each other about dinner plans or a kids playgroup organizing an outing to the park. Hangouts, if they really work, have enough eye candy to draw people in and might just be cool enough to keep users around. I really like the idea of low-friction causal group communication to the point that I'm not really sure why Facebook hasn't done it already (if not for video, at least for text).

In short, Plus feels like it's actually trying to deliver some kind of value to users. Compare this to Buzz, which pretty much felt like Google's attempt to say "omg we're not social enough. Must be more social. Quick! Go share some crap! Socially!" Tell the user how you'll help them, and you've got a fighting chance. Tell the user what buzzwords you're supplying this week, and you're delivering a bucket of slop.

To succeed, Plus doesn't have to be a Facebook killer. On Facebook, you've got hundreds (thousands even) of "friends" who you haven't talked to in ages and may not even know. Google is focusing on the actual connections you care about and want to talk to, which seems like a good way in. What they are offering here is to replicate the experience of a bunch of friends sitting around, talking about random nonsense, and showing each other funny YouTube videos, except those friends don't have to be linked by physical proximity or advance scheduling or anything other than "I'm bored; let me see who's online." That's what fosters the kind of great online community some of us already have on IRC channels, forums, MetaFilter, and the like, but which most internet users have never really found.

Get that kind of close interaction right and you've got something pretty darn powerful. Get it really right, and Google Plus becomes the place to go to interact with people and groups you actually care about, while Facebook becomes the place to play FarmVille and get chain letters from that annoying kid who transferred out of your high school after sophomore year. That's all still a big long-shot, but there's some real promise here too.
posted by zachlipton at 12:16 PM on June 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


I apparently have Google–. Damn, Google, that's cold.
posted by Eideteker at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Facebook has friend lists features that let you share with a subset of your friends. I totally agree with Jess about how hard (or obfuscated) it is to search your profile or your friend's profiles for things.

In short, I'll definitely try it out, but a critical mass of my friends probably wont.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:23 PM on June 28, 2011


uh, so that's why I've randomly had a black Google taskbar the past few days.

Aha, yes, me too, and it must also be the reason that Google was hitting on me a couple of days ago. 'Well yeah, I do come here fairly often I suppose, what's it to you?!'
posted by KatlaDragon at 12:23 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been playing with this (interestingly, I went to check it out from here, and I had an account invite already in my mailbox!) and it's really pretty decent.

The user interface is really interesting and quite effective - but also much more artsy than you're used to in Google.

The fact that it interacts with my gmail fairly seamlessly (so far) is A++ good.

This could be a real contender. I'm going at this pretty hard.

memail me for invitations!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I may be an outlier, but I hardly ever view GMail through the web. I use Mail.app on my Mac to collect mail from all my accounts, and I do the same on my iPad and iPhone. GMail to me isn't a web site to go to, it's just e-mail messages. So if there's heavy GMail integration built into Google+ I'm probably not going to see it.

Metafilter+, though? I use that all the time.

I've said too much.
posted by emelenjr at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2011


(Oh, and it seems to need your email address and some sort of name to send an invite!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2011


Yep, I've been looking at this for a while too, and I think it's really great. It has that same hook that makes me want to get all my friends on it that Twitter and Facebook did in the early days.

Unlike Facebook, it's also (surprisingly for Google) pretty good at managing privacy -- I can really easily decide who sees what*. I think this could be a win.

The one thing they'll have to get over is this probably works best if you think of Google as a social space, a space where the things you do and are interested in you can allow to be seen by your friends, instead of the wild anonymous internet-explorer that it used to feel like. That might be too large a leap for some users.

* Well, there's a change to Picasa so that now people you share albums with can share them with other people. Seems like a bad privacy move to me, that -- how do I know someone isn't going to share those party pics with the person I chose not to invite? Ooops
posted by bonaldi at 12:35 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Google+ Teaser clip looks really interesting.

George_Spiggott: If people could use open ID and their own choice of hosting or even self-hosting to opt into social networking...

The reason Facebook is useful for connecting with people is because it has so many people on it. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd, and it'll take a lot of marketing (and maybe a dash of Tila Tequila) to get people to join a new social network.

Google's head start over a no-name is that Gmail is so prevalent that people only need to opt in to join Google+ as a social network. And comparing how people use Google websites vs Facebook is silly - one is a broad collection of sites and applications, the other is a social network, with games and distractions that keep people inside the walled garden.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:36 PM on June 28, 2011


I've got Google +4!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2011


Metafilter+, though? I use that all the time.

I heard it's called Metafilter[+]. And the limited beta was Metafilter[+][!]

Also, holy shit there's a black bar above my Google Reader now too! What do I do!?
posted by MrFTBN at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2011


ftl -- agreed, that is the point. But a distributed social network could have a common name and a common look and feel without needing to have a common host. If the same people who host your email, blog, website, whatever, could also host your (let's say) BukkitFace social networking identity, which implemented the common BukkitFace, then you'd just have to be on BukkitFace, it wouldn't matter who hosted, it, it all works seamlessly with others on BukkitFace, they wouldn't know or care where it was hosted.

Hmm... now I just have to generate some buzz for BukkitFace. Probably have to hit a popular forum somewhere....
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The other primary features of Google+ are:

Circles


You know, for kids!
posted by Knappster at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've added the first six or seven people to my "Metafilter" circle... but when I explicitly try to "send invitation" once you're added, I realizes it gives me an error that "Email invitations aren't yet supported".

Has any gmail user who has contacted me got any invitation yet?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:50 PM on June 28, 2011


Bad news - I'd invited my wife first, and even she hasn't gotten an invitation - and the site is saying it's reached the invitation limit.

So here's what we'll do!

I replied back in gmail to everyone who asked for an invitation, so you know my address, and it's up to you to remind me when you hear that more invitations have come out.

If you haven't gotten a reply or haven't sent and still want one, send me email to the address in my profile and we'll make the same deal!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:57 PM on June 28, 2011


Thanks l_y! I will ping you when Google opens up the doors a bit more. :)
posted by jess at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2011


Oh, and I got 500 invitations so I'm not worried about running out - I'm just taking a second or two to check mefi member's histories to make sure they aren't evil Spammers getting a Mefi account just to get a plus account.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:00 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Features are great, but in the end, there's only way thing that will get me to adopt social-network B over social-network A: Will all my friends be there?

99% of my friends (close friends and acquaintances) are on Facebook. There are about a zillion ways I think Facebook sucks, but it has that one all important thing going for it. It's where my friends are. So many of them are there that if I need to get a message out to everyone I care about, I only have to post on Facebook and send a couple of emails. (I have three close friends who don't use Facebook).

If I want to get a message to just SOME of my Facebook friend but not all of the, I struggle. Facebook sucks for that. It sucks if I want to filter stuff out. It sucks if I want to search for stuff I posted in the past. It sucks a so many ways. But it's where my friends are.

If Google+ is better in terms of features AND gets most of my friends to use it, I'll use it, too.
posted by grumblebee at 1:05 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I'm understanding the "circles" feature it should help solve the problem that facebook has had since it opened to everyone, namely, that I can't post anything on Facebook that I don't want my mom to see because she has facebook too so she will. With circles, I should be able to share pictures of myself engaging in drunken mischief with my friends and pictures of myself being a fine, upstanding citizen with everyone.
posted by VTX at 1:07 PM on June 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think this looks excellent--much smarter than Facebook.

Unfortunately, I get a 404 when I request an invite. Ugh.
posted by dobbs at 1:09 PM on June 28, 2011


(and if you can't tell, I'm tickled pink that I might be able to get away from Facebook, which I detest with a burning passion... anything that I can do to bring that day closer forward is great!)

Now, let me describe the interface.

It's very HTML5-y, much more than the usual Google product.

The first page is really slick - you see a list of people you very frequently email, and if you mouse over them, you see a menu fade up with a list of categories to assign the person. Once you've done that and mouse away, that person vanishes, to be replaced by another.

There's a nice page that has everyone who's ever talked to you in gmail on the top and these circles on the bottom and you drag and drop onto it (or onto a "new cirlcle" icon).

In that mode your circles are represented, you guessed it, by little circles and when you mouse over them they expand a little and you can see tiny thumbnails of the people in that category around the edge (really slick).

And a profile and that sort of thing.

The circles idea is very nice and if it fits with my calendar and address book (also on gmail), well, we have a winner here!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:09 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's the 404.
posted by dobbs at 1:10 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm on the beta. One of the things I like about it is that you can back up your data - photos, contacts, etc. from the UI (and with sensible formats, too).

That's a nice "We are the anti-Facebook" gesture.
posted by zippy at 1:11 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Today seems to be a busy day for Google. In addition to all of this GoogleFavorite business, they've released a tool for recompiling .swf files as HTML5 documents.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:15 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


On that 404 error, I changed "GB" in the URL to "US" and it worked fine, for whatever what's worth.
posted by crapmatic at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2011


Despite my earlier comment I'd love a facebook with good privacy controls. I don't like Facebook but I have to use it.
posted by rdr at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2011


For heaven's sake, stop picking at it or you'll end up with GooglePus!
posted by Eideteker at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK, so what company is selling a web search service for a reasonable fee and promises not to keep pushing their social networking bullshit down my throat all the time? I need one I can use for finding stuff on the internets, don't care much for sharing anything with anybody.

I've got my credit card out and I'm waiting here, invisible hand of the market better do something fast because I've had it with these jokers.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2011


> OK, so what company is selling a web search service for a reasonable fee and promises not to keep pushing their social networking bullshit down my throat all the time?

Well, if you use Chrome you can use Google in anonymous mode (Command-Shift-N) and not get any of that crap...!

More playing around... the system seems to know everywhere I've worked(!) but that might be because it has information from my working at Google (but still!)

One very nice feature is that if I change my name there, I change it everywhere, but it remembers my "other names" (because I have two names, my birth name and my stage name.... actually, I have a third name I use for writing political stuff but that I don't want associated with the other two!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:25 PM on June 28, 2011


Ok, now instead of iGoogle, which is the square root of -(Google^2), I have Google! Which would be great if it didn't blow up so fast. It's slowing my computer to a halt.
posted by Eideteker at 1:27 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Developing...

It seems to know where I've lived and two other cities I've lived in and where I went to school.

The interface is simple but there are several really promising features: "Hangouts: Have fun with all your circles using your live webcam." This machine doesn't have a webcam...

There's a photosharing system. Buzz and your videos seem to be integrated but I haven't seen the fullness of this yet - since I have no one in my circles yet.

The front page has tabs "Streams", "People" and "Sparks" which seems to be a suggestion-thing for random webpages. We'll see how well that works!

Within Stream, you can suggest a given circle to be looking at. Suspect it would work nicely. Let's get more people on, dammit!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:32 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have they just kept the now-unusable "I'm Feeling Lucky" bar on the main page (which disappears at the stroke of a key) as a general sentiment re: SN'ing? Throwing in the keys to the family wagon, as it were...?
posted by obscurator at 1:36 PM on June 28, 2011


This is intriguing I have to say. I'm not on FB because of the difficulty involved, it seems to me from a distance and what I've extrapolated anecdotally, with constantly managing who it is that gets what information, and the fact that FB as an end unto itself, powerful as it may be is a weak and limited interpretation of human connections. People do not connect simply to connect. The connections that last are the ones based on a real emotional connection (friend or family), or on a real shared interest or experience (colleague, fellow Mefite or collector of "stamps').

Anyhow, this seems to address the various peoples "circles" and doesn't seem as rude and intrusive as Buzz, which was like a joke, and one of the few missteps that made me doubt Google's understanding of our "contract," which to me amounts to: I've given you huge faith with my data, contacts, phone, and internet experience, now don't fuck with it or take advantage of it without my permission or this relationship is over. (In that way I guess it's like a friendship or relationship, where you trust people until they give you a reason to doubt that trust or completely turn that trust off. Buzz, brought me precariously close to that.

I may give this a shot. Will wait and see how it shakes out.
posted by Skygazer at 1:40 PM on June 28, 2011


Honestly, I can't wait for the moment when everyone realizes Facebook ain't really all that great. It's a lot of people's first step online, so it's like Compuserve or AOL's forums were back in the day.
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on June 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I do get the AOL feeling from FaceBook myself. It's amateur hour, but a lot of people have moved beyond the point where that kind of engagement online is desirable. I have a FB page but it's mostly just to keep track of people anymore. It's a web-based address book, IOW. I need a more compartmentalized online persona, and this looks like it might do the trick. If anyone comes that is...
posted by Mister_A at 2:22 PM on June 28, 2011


IRC could totally replace every social network, if there happened to be something on there with more mass appeal than Linux or piracy. There are already apps to integrate it with forums, games, and trivial Farmville-esque bullshit.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:22 PM on June 28, 2011


Another announcement today: Google data liberation.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:23 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK, so what company is selling a web search service for a reasonable fee and promises not to keep pushing their social networking bullshit down my throat all the time? I need one I can use for finding stuff on the internets, don't care much for sharing anything with anybody.

I've got my credit card out and I'm waiting here, invisible hand of the market better do something fast because I've had it with these jokers.


Yeah, it's a damn shame they make everyone create a Google Profile just to run searches. Wait, what?
posted by me & my monkey at 2:28 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the demo for Huddle. If you try to post anything to the thread it makes you post random nonsense.

"dishwasher ham sandwich"

"wax ensemble hammer socks volcano"
posted by brundlefly at 2:38 PM on June 28, 2011


Yeah, me & my monkey hits this on the head. You are under no obligation to engage in any of the other Google products in order to use their search product. In fact, you can refuse all cookies from the google.com domain and they will never know who you are, and you will still be permitted to use the basic search functionality, without being hassled, for free. A nice strawman demonstration from Dr Dracator there, though.
posted by Inkoate at 2:39 PM on June 28, 2011


Maybe they will do this right. For one thing, they're not just giving this to everyone right away the way they did with buzz, and just shoving it in everyone's face. They're going to get feedback and hopefully figure out what works and what doesn't.

I have a couple of friends I occasionally send stuff to over google chat (I have the native client). This could be useful for something like that.
It's a damn shame that the mantle of open-source, distributed social networking was taken up by people who don't even remotely have the chops for it.
Yeah, that totally sucked. It was completely ridiculous how much money they got.

Also, the argument that "We don't need this because we can just use facebook" is completely ridiculous. Some people don't like FB at all, and I hardly ever use it. if Google can do this in a way that doesn't violate or seem to violate people's personal comfort zone, then it might be OK.
Google: how about you spend more time working on what you do best: search.
What's wrong with search that you'd like to see fixed? What makes you think they're not working on it? And anyway, if search works in 90% of the cases, then getting it to 99% only gets you 9% greater customer satisfaction, or whatever. Assuming that translates directly into revenue, it's better to work on other products.

And beyond that, they are a huge company? They're not one person. They can do multiple things at once.
99% of my friends (close friends and acquaintances) are on Facebook. There are about a zillion ways I think Facebook sucks, but it has that one all important thing going for it. It's where my friends are.
Most of my friends have Gmail as well.
OK, so what company is selling a web search service for a reasonable fee and promises not to keep pushing their social networking bullshit down my throat all the time? I need one I can use for finding stuff on the internets, don't care much for sharing anything with anybody.
You could setup TOR and do your googling over that. Or if you're willing to pay you can get a host and proxy setup to protect your privacy pretty easily. Google wouldn't even have the ability to figure out who you were.
posted by delmoi at 2:40 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wave was frustrating because the limited invitation rollout meant you couldn't really use it with the people with whom it would've been useful. I actually do still check Buzz from time to time because people leave comments on things (which must mean they use Buzz too!). Actually, Google Reader is my favorite social sharing mechanism and I'm sorry to see it doesn't have wider adoption. So I hook that up to Buzz, which gives me a few more friends to share with.

I'm trying out Google+ now and the Circles thing is kinda fun to use. I think it's a brilliant step toward mitigating the kinds of privacy concerns that Facebook fails so miserably at handling. I'm still nervous about the way sharing will work with Google+ -- I can see it getting pretty complicated as more apps are integrated, but no less so than sharing is on Facebook. I think Facebook is evil from the top down, and I hate that everyone uses it. Google is less worse, IMHO.
posted by estherbester at 2:55 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uggh.

From a marketer's perspective, this means more gaming, more spam, more crappy annoying social leveraging.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:02 PM on June 28, 2011


Google does a pretty good job of filtering out spam. Hopefully this will mean LESS advertising. The fact that marketers want to jam their products into every social space doesn't mean we need fewer social spaces in order to make their jobs easier.
posted by delmoi at 3:04 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm shocked at the number of people around here who don't fully understand how to enable facebook privacy updates to only certain people.

You start typing a status, then you click the little lock thing under the dialogue box next to the SHARE button and then go crazy. Congratulations, mom doesn't have to know about your sexy date and EPIC BROS don't have to see those adorable pictures of your cat.

Note: I may or may not have used this in conjunction with several friends to post disturbing things on a friend's wall that only he could see without anyone indicating that his facebook using parents and grandparents could NOT see any of these cocktastic updates.


ALL THAT SAID: facebook is pretty obnoxious in a lot of ways and their chat ranges from absolutely shameful to somewhat adequate. Even though I use facebook every day I'd be happy to migrate if I could get a decent portion of my social circle (largely code monkeys and nerds) to check this new thing out.
posted by sandswipe at 3:13 PM on June 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


>Google does a pretty good job of filtering out spam.

When it comes to email in my box, they do a pretty good job of filtering out spam. When it comes to search engine results, they do a pretty good job of persuading people that they filter out spam; in actuality, it's whack-a-mole and random.

>Hopefully this will mean LESS advertising.

Actually, I think more-but-better-concealed-advertising, and more paid and/or automated pseudo-interaction, will be the order of the day.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:18 PM on June 28, 2011


I am actually... tentatively stoked about some aspects of this. The past year has turned me into a heavy Facebook user, when I had hardly touched it in forever, entirely because that's where everyone else in my grad program is. It's how we keep in touch, organise nights out, poach library books off each other, and so forth.

Which is great and all, but meanwhile, I feel pretty out of touch with a lot of the really close friends I've made online. We started out on LJ; then Twitter came along, and that's where all the hum-drum this-is-my-life-today stuff has ended up - and I only have so many micro-updates in me a day, man! Normally, most nights will find at least some of us in an IM chatroom; it started as a way to communicate outside of the RPG we were/are in (oh hush), but now it's just, well, our hangout, whether we're playing or writing papers or just tooling around the internets. Except, of course, chatrooms have to be set up, and people have to be invited; we usually convene around the same time (ish), but some people's work hours don't match up with that anymore; etc. etc.

Google+ Hangout? Potentially AWESOME.
posted by sophistrie at 3:26 PM on June 28, 2011


I'm shocked at the number of people around here who don't fully understand how to enable facebook privacy updates to only certain people.

Does it exclude Mark Zuckerberg, his designated agents and subordinates and the people they sell your information to?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see references to Huddle, but I can't actually figure out how to make one happen. I've been looking for a useful, private, free, non-stupid group chat client for some time, so I'd like to check it out.

Someone have some breadcrumbs for me to follow?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:04 PM on June 28, 2011


I'm on the beta. One of the things I like about it is that you can back up your data - photos, contacts, etc. from the UI (and with sensible formats, too).

That's a nice "We are the anti-Facebook" gesture.

Weirdly enough, you can actually do that on facebook too (though I don't know what formats they support).
posted by ersatz at 5:05 PM on June 28, 2011


Does it exclude Mark Zuckerberg, his designated agents and subordinates and the people they sell your information to?

But that wasn't the complaint above about Facebook. The complaint was that Facebook doesn't allow you to selectively update your status, or selectively share things with only certain people. It does. It takes some doing to set it up so it's usable, but once you have it done, it's relatively easy to then post a status or a picture or a link that only some people can see.

That being said, the sheer obnoxiousness of the interface and the process required to make that level of granularity work is probably a major contributing factor to the impression that the feature just doesn't exist. (I'm sure the poor interface is also a product of Facebook's general preference for sharing more with more rather than less with fewer.) Google, on the other hand, has by and large done a decent job with interface (anyone remember the revolution that was email tags instead of folders?), so I'll be interested to see how they improve on something that Facebook does, but does poorly.
posted by devinemissk at 5:09 PM on June 28, 2011


For those of you lucky enough to be in the beta, how's the Sparks thing? I'm a big Reader fan, but I always feel weird sharing links there... I mean, they're going to be from the same set of websites everyone already knows I like. I feel like I'm spamming for The Big Picture or whatever. If Sparks works as advertised, I could see myself sharing links a lot more. Plus, I could always use new sources to follow.
posted by SAC at 5:26 PM on June 28, 2011


Nice.

The Facebook experience is starting to turn into a wasteland of "User X is now friends with A, B, C, D...." I think that tipping point is right over the horizon. We shall see.
posted by Sreiny at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


You start typing a status, then you click the little lock thing under the dialogue box next to the SHARE button and then go crazy. Congratulations, mom doesn't have to know about your sexy date and EPIC BROS don't have to see those adorable pictures of your cat.

Ok, now try to change the privacy of an existing entry. Can't be done.
posted by smackfu at 6:02 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My DnD group all just started using it. It's pretty slick but since most of my friends don't belong I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending with it.
posted by MaritaCov at 7:08 PM on June 28, 2011


It's taken me a while to figure out what the barrier is with Facebook for me, but as I read this thread I figured it out. It's nothing to do with privacy - it's the fact that it seems to have become the only way my friends invite people to things any more. After we finished college (late '90s), we used to get annoyed at each other when someone would send an invitation only by email, because many of us didn't have computers and/or only checked our email accounts once every few days, so if someone didn't call by phone, we'd miss out. After a while, we were all on email, and that problem went away. Now it seems everyone uses Facebook instead of email. Maybe I'm stuck in "get off my lawn" mode, but I find it frustrating; I'd much rather get an email invitation. I don't log in to Facebook every day, but I do stay logged in to my email all day, so I'll see that email. Facebook emails me when someone sends an invitation - but if I want to see any kind of details, I have to go over to Facebook. I'd much prefer an Outlook-style meeting request, honestly - at least you can see what information the other person wanted you to know, all at once. (yes, I have the same gripe about Evite.)

Of course I also get annoyed about the new black bar (I don't think I'm in Plus - I'd know if I was, right?) and the other changes in the various Google interfaces that I've been noticing lately (particularly Maps) - not for specific reasons, just a "stop changing things!" attitude. So yeah, maybe it's a lawn problem.
posted by nickmark at 7:25 PM on June 28, 2011


> My DnD group all just started using it.

They must all work at Google, then - the only people I see in my circles right now are Googlers and ex-Googlers...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:40 PM on June 28, 2011


Lupus, a couple of them do indeed work at Google.
posted by MaritaCov at 7:56 PM on June 28, 2011


I looked at it and it wanted to make my currently private profile public. Then I found this:
The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.

Keep in mind that your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.

If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.
Emphasis mine. I blew that sucker away. Why does Google always fumble the privacy stuff right out of the gate?
posted by adipocere at 8:36 PM on June 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


estherbester, (or anyone with an account by now,) does Google+ have any integration with Google Reader?
posted by ijoshua at 9:09 PM on June 28, 2011


You could setup TOR and do your googling over that. Or if you're willing to pay you can get a host and proxy setup to protect your privacy pretty easily. Google wouldn't even have the ability to figure out who you were.

Here's the thing: I don't want to have to do that. This is a company whose business model is to sell my attention to advertisers - if I'm going to use their services, I will have to constantly fight their way of doing business and be on my guard not to accidentaly click on some EULA or accept some cookie somewhere that compromises my privacy. If I manage to use their services the way I want, I will be consuming their resources and not giving them any profit, i.e. wasting their money. You can bet they'll keep trying to stop me or change my mind, even if they put a happy "Don't be evil" face on it.

How much income is the average user generating for Google per year? I don't know if any figures are available, so I'll just pull $20 out of a hat. To me that's a completely reasonable amount for the google services I'm actually using (searching + throwaway spamtrap webmail ) - I could probably even declare it as a business expense and save on taxes. I'd rather use the services of somebody I'm paying to work for me, who has an interest in keeping me happy and sparing me all this junk.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:16 PM on June 28, 2011


Here's the thing: I don't want to have to do that.
Well, you can't blame the world for your own laziness. And beyond that you would have no way of verifying that they actually keep your data secure, with proxies and TOR you would.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The main thing I do on Facebook these days is share links and comment on statuses. So, if Google+ can replicate and perhaps improve on these features, I'm sold.

I really don't care much about the privacy part of it, and never have. If Google wants to know that I've been searching for the reason no one can replicate Stradivarius violins, more power to them. They're providing me a free service that I find useful, and they use my odd searches to try and sell me things that I never buy.

I put my name in for an invite. Maybe I'll get in over the next few days.
posted by reenum at 11:26 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate most social networking sites, and Buzz freaked me out! While this looks promising compared to that, there is just this element of "too soon" after the Buzz-Blunder in terms of PR. Does anyone here have any inside experience with Google? Did the failed Buzz team and Wave team join up with the Reader and Chat teams and regroup on this? Did the Buzz team get canned, or sent to some other building to keep tweaking Buzz for the people that use it? Is this a wholly new thing, or is this just pieced from the detritus of other attempts? And why this sudden rush of new things: I have this new black bar, the +1 things is popping up more, I have this new people widget as of a few minutes ago...whatever happened to baby steps?

And I feel bad for people trapped in social networking wastelands...FB works because of the masses. Google has a mass, but not in terms of people who tweak their Google Profiles and their Buzzes and their Readers and their whatnots, or so it seems. For example, while not Google, what are those people who bought that Microsoft Kin thing doing these days? Are they still droppin' images into their "circles" or dots or nubs or whatever that was? It is depressing to think of that last Kin user dragging tweets onto his nub, with no one on the other end to receive them.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:36 PM on June 28, 2011


Well, you can't blame the world for your own laziness.

Did you build the house you live in yourself? How about the shoes you wear? I'm thinking you just paid money for these, which means you are also lazy.

My argument is not practical - I know it is possible to use technical measures to hide your personal information from google. It seems rather wasteful to have to do this when my goal and their goals are divergent.

And beyond that you would have no way of verifying that they actually keep your data secure, with proxies and TOR you would.

My search history doesn't need the same protection as my Swiss bank account numbers. If they can convince me they are technically competent and I know they have an interest in protecting my privacy, that's good enough for everyday use. For the more sensitive stuff I completely agree a more aggressive approach is necessary.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:36 PM on June 28, 2011


How much income is the average user generating for Google per year?

Over the past year I made 6,706 searches with google (while logged in). If they were making $25 CPM that would be $167.65. On the other hand, according to this article (from 2006) the average Google searched earned the company about 12 cents. So that would be $804.72, if my searches were average. But most of my searchers were for random stuff I was trying to remember or look up, not anything potentially profitable. (like for example one of the top searches was my name and the name of a friend, a youtube channel I liked, those pages that show you your IP, and the link for the inception button.

But, it doesn't matter. I run adblock, so they made $0.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you build the house you live in yourself? How about the shoes you wear? I'm thinking you just paid money for these, which means you are also lazy.
No, but I'm not bitching about the fact I can't buy a house pre-fabricated to my exact desires. If I wanted a roof covered with solar panels I would have to build it, or at least that part, myself. The lazyness isn't so much the fact that you're not willing do do a few hours work to set something up, but the fact that you're somehow blaming the world for your inability to do it.

Also, you're kind of lazy for not even trying to find out if something exists. this is the second link when searching for "private search service, a $79 a year system for private browsing (which would still involve using Google, or bing or something, but without adblock it's no different then using it while not logged on)
posted by delmoi at 11:43 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, but I'm not bitching about the fact I can't buy a house pre-fabricated to my exact desires. If I wanted a roof covered with solar panels I would have to build it, or at least that part, myself.

One last point, because this is mischaracterizing my argument: I'm not bitching for some extra functionality google doesn't have, which would be the equivalent of your solar panels. If you want an analogy, I would have to be bitching about wanting a house where I don't have to constantly be on my guard to make sure the building contractors haven't come in through the back door to check out what's in my fridge.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:57 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been playing with it. It's promising, and a lot less visually noisy than Facebook. The idea of keeping different groups of "friends" more cleanly distinct from family and other groups of social friends is appealing, because I've never loved how Facebook does/n't do that.

(Some people think I'm a writer. Some people think I'm an HR consultant. Some people think I'm a designer. Some think I'm a space cowboy. They're all right, in their own way, but these groups of people don't care to see my updates on the other stuff, I sure don't need my clients friending my mother, and I'm not exactly a fan of being everything to everyone, either. When do I get to be a drunken fool, boss? When?)
posted by rokusan at 12:00 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


XKCD seems to have captured this nicely. The alt-text is good too ("On the one hand, you'll never be able to convince your parents to switch. On the other hand, you'll never be able to convince your parents to switch!").

To me, this looks promising, but it seems like it might lose some of the serendipitous advantages of Facebook - where you can interact with your friends' friends, or add casual acquaintances - people that you wouldn't necessarily add to a network that more closely matched your actual, real, friends. (And I've become better friends with people as a result of interacting with them on FB). Is that possible on G+?

On top of that, a lot of my friends/family don't use Gmail but have mastered FB. Yes it's lowest-common-denominator, AOL stuff, but that suits many of the people I want to interact with. Will be interesting to see how it pans out.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:06 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


To me, this looks promising, but it seems like it might lose some of the serendipitous advantages...

It's Google. They have already patented "I Feel Lucky."

(Hm. Maybe Craigslist should be worried, too.)
posted by rokusan at 12:13 AM on June 29, 2011


roomthreeseventeen writes "Why? I didn't have a use for yet another social media platform. I need one. FB works fine."

It's possible Google will come up with something better. Facebook after all gets lots of things wrong and often makes unpopular changes to the user experience. Rarely is competition bad.

tommasz writes "The problem with this is I don't want it. I know that sounds flip, but for me Facebook does a fine job of sharing things with my friends. I haven't ever said to myself, 'I wish Facebook did X' or 'I hate that Facebook does Y'. "

Not everyone agrees of course. To the point that there are 350+ firefox extensions for facebook and 660 greasemonkey scripts on userscripts alone.

George_Spiggott writes "ennui.bz, gmail works even if you have Flashblock, so you don't have to deal with Flash."

It also works with non web clients.
posted by Mitheral at 1:22 AM on June 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


More social networking? How many times can I network two friends? Where the hell is the software for reclusive misanthropes? Who told the fucking extroverts they could take over the internet?
posted by Segundus at 1:40 AM on June 29, 2011 [16 favorites]


PLEASE PLEASE

Anybody with invites, please please let me in. I will love it and hug it and pet it... No, really, I need to be in this please.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:31 AM on June 29, 2011


This_Will_Be_Good, the Ars/Wired Feature gives a pretty good overview of the background and history to Google+ and the teams behind Buzz.
posted by SAC at 4:17 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"IRC could totally replace every social network, if there happened to be something on there with more mass appeal than Linux or piracy."

Hey, I just got offered $30 billion for #bunnies. I'm holding out for 50.
posted by Eideteker at 5:36 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually think I will easily be able to get my mother to sign on to Google+, where she has resisted signing on to Facebook. She already has a Google account, after all.

I've always been kind of ambivalent about my mother on Facebook (much as XKCD suggests). I think it would be good for her to be on FB and be able to see the family updates and stuff that I see. On the other hand, I'd also feel the need to put her on my limited profile and keep her from seeing some stuff that I post. Not that there's anything on there that I really couldn't tell her, since I don't exactly lead a secret double life or anything, but well, she's my mom, you know?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:38 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public."

adipocere, You're talking about this, right? Is that combined with Google+ at all? My understanding was that the whole point of profiles was to create a definitive entry for yourself on the web, so it would seem pointless to have a private profile. Maybe I'm missing something about that feature though.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2011


It is integrated with Google+, yes. When I click on your link to profiles.google.com, I go to my Google+ page.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:30 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Taft: "The other primary features of Google+ are:

Circles
"

Google: You know what's cooler than a billion dolllars? Circles.
posted by schmod at 7:41 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Update on invites!

So far, while I can place third-parties in my circles, when I go to actually send an invitation I am told that "Sending email invitations will be enabled soon!" and I saw a reference somewhere to "invitations having run out".

I have some three dozen requests, but it's little more work to do 30 than 3 if I do them all at once.

So keep sending me memail with your email addresses (that seems to be what 90% of you are doing anyway) and at some point today I'll send a mass BCC:ed email to everyone.

At some point they'll start invitations again, or one of you will remind me, and I'll invite you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:53 AM on June 29, 2011


What amazes me, and scares me a little, is that plus knew an awful lot about me - where I'd worked, where I'd lived, my radio station and that sort of thing.

It wasn't by any means perfect - it felt I'd lived in a city named something like Vienna Montreal Ottawa (but I've lived in all three cities).

I'd have no issues if they got that information from me being an ex-Google employee - after all, they aren't showing it to anyone else, and they got it fair and square - but do they do this for non-Googlers?

On more reflection, everything that's there is from my resume and a bit of natural language processing, so am I creeped out? Suppose I go into a job interview and the interviewer says, "You lived in Vienna, what was that like?" Considering that I expect them to pre-screen me, that's perfectly reasonable, it's public information.

So I am not on the balance creeped out, but I'm impressed. Getting my facts preloaded into my profile was pretty damned clever...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:58 AM on June 29, 2011


They didn't pre-load anything in my profile, and god knows, give my use of google for mail, calendaring, RSS, word processing, spreadsheets, various mailing lists, and maintaining a blog (and doing most of those in duplicate because my employer uses Apps as our mail/intranet solution), they know pretty much everything they could possibly know about me.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:12 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone has extra invites, email is in profile.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:22 AM on June 29, 2011


With Google Takeout, Data Liberation Front make good on their motto:
Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.
Data Liberation.org has guides on exporting and importing data from and to 28 Google products.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 AM on June 29, 2011


If someone has invites, please contact me thru MeMail? Thank you in advance.
posted by NekulturnY at 9:01 AM on June 29, 2011


Oh, just one more thing. (Peter Falk, R.I.P.)

Plus incorporates a really slick idea, called "Google Feedback". Each page has a little "Send Feedback" button in the bottom right corner. When you click on it, it greys the whole page, brings up a small popup in that corner where you can type in your problem, and lets you highlight just the area of the current page that has the issue - and black out personal information!

Clicking on "Preview" on this, you can see the whole page, the area you highlighted/blacked out, and your feedback. One more click, and it's submitted.

Really slick - I've already done this four times for little errors.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:21 AM on June 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


does it support animated gifs? if it doesnt support aimated gifs i dont want to see it
posted by 3mendo at 3:41 PM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am very intrigued by this. I never use my FB account for the simple fact that I don't want my "friends" from work seeing what I want to share with my "friends" from not-work; and vice versa. It looks like Google has done what I have wanted FB to do for a long time - implement a feature that allows me to easily share some content with some people, and not with others.

If anyone has an invite, I would love to accept one. My email is in my profile.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:42 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm apparently a user, but just figured that the +1 icons and black toolbar were new features that Google put into their search engine without telling me about.
posted by codacorolla at 4:07 PM on June 29, 2011


OK!

Mass invitation coming in a few minutes, thanks to Astro Zombie, who figured out how to make it go off!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:00 PM on June 29, 2011


Thanks lupus_yonderboy!
posted by SAC at 6:29 PM on June 29, 2011


All right!

35 minutes of furious typing done, and I just sent out what I hope are 60 invitations.

If you didn't get one, then there are two possibilities. One, you didn't send me an email address and so I missed it in my system. The other is that I missed it anyway. :-D

Just drop me a line, now I know how to do it!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:36 PM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, not sure why that didn't work, I just tried again...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:12 PM on June 29, 2011


Yay, just got my invite! Thanks a ton, lupus_yonderboy! You're awesome. :)
posted by jess at 7:15 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you lupus
posted by KokuRyu at 7:33 PM on June 29, 2011


Coming back to say that lupas is a standup guy!! Thanks for the invite!! I'm proud that you are the first one in my friend circle!!
posted by pearlybob at 8:07 PM on June 29, 2011


Lupus.... sorry friend!!
posted by pearlybob at 8:08 PM on June 29, 2011


So, HAH, seems like we snuck in a short window there, because invitations now seem to be off again...!

I got a couple after this happened, I'll try to remember to do them later or buzz me on an off moment...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:36 PM on June 29, 2011


Oh, dang!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:38 PM on June 29, 2011


So lots of cool things still surfacing.

The pages update live, updates fade in all HTML5ishly.

My Google chat appeared in the frontmost Google Plus window and not on my gmail, but seems to direct to gmail if that's in front. Just what you'd like.

They've really taken the "privacy/sharing" thing to heart. You literally can't put anything in your stream without saying how to share it. And you can share with just one person or an ad hoc group - plus, if someone shares with you, you can also see how they shared it.

This is the Facebook Killer. You heard it here first.

The whole "Circle" idea is really good, it's really well implemented, it has space age features like the Hangouts, and it's completely integrated with your email.

And social networking isn't actually a defensible monopoly. I have no history on Facebook - my sum investment is my circle of friends, if they were somewhere else I'd go there in a second. My email is something I'd never port...

Goodbye, Facebook! I never liked you even for one minute and I'm glad you're going to Zombie Social Networking Land to hang out with MySpace and Friendster.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:53 PM on June 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Huzzah! Three cheers to lupus!
posted by stratastar at 9:00 PM on June 29, 2011


Hey anyone want to try this new fangled thing called Friendster with me??

I can send you an invite. It comes from a server somewhere back in time, I think 2003 or something. It's RAD!!! You can list bands you like and movies you love W00T!!!11!!!


heh heh heh...tee hee...
posted by Skygazer at 9:23 PM on June 29, 2011


It seems to have upgraded my gmail as well. The grey inbox, delete, etc bar scrolls down within emails in a very nice way. Also brings contact information for people included on emails with it.
posted by stratastar at 9:24 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm using it, and liking it so far, but can't figure out how to share invitations. How'd ya do it, lupus?
posted by cyndigo at 9:29 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm using it, and liking it so far, but can't figure out how to share invitations. How'd ya do it, lupus?
Invitations are shut off right now. When they come back on, there's a big green button at the bottom of the page with all the circles on it.

Also, thanks to lupus_yonderboy, for the invite and for reminding me to reread a great book.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:30 PM on June 29, 2011


Hey I got in! Apparently a friend of mine (in silicon valley) had it and added me. I got a message from it in my gmail and from there I had a 'join' button. All she wrote was "huh"

Funny thing is, we had actually used Google Wave together. Heh.
posted by delmoi at 9:53 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm using it, and liking it so far, but can't figure out how to share invitations. How'd ya do it, lupus?

Try adding people to your circles.

One thing that's annoying. It shows you everyone you've emailed in the list of people you can add to circles. Which is nice, except there are some duplicates, and it doesn't show you the email address to figure out which is which.

The other cool thing is that when you post someone, it goes out over email as well. So your mom doesn't even need to sign up for it to see your messages.

posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on June 29, 2011


Thanks, lupus!
posted by gurple at 10:35 PM on June 29, 2011


Hmmm. Wave is still up. How bout that.

You know, I'm really glad that something else is coming out: every time a website requests
"my information" from facebook it makes me so angry because I know my control over whatever is going on will be so obfuscated by Facebook's willfully confusing navigation. So I close out the browswer and never go back.

Grar!
posted by stratastar at 10:45 PM on June 29, 2011


Thanks lupus!

One big thing I've noticed. A couple of months ago, I tagged a bunch of people in my Picasa albums. They show up in the web albums, with their correct email addresses, but the tags don't seem to port over to Google+. There might be a technical reason for it, but it's a big oversight as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to have to tag all these people AGAIN!

Ooh... one of the sharing options is "Extended Circles" -- your circles, and all their circles. So it's still got some of the wider social networking possibilities. Though I now find myself wanting an "extended circle of this circle." That way, friends of my friends can see things that my coworkers' families cannot.
posted by natabat at 10:47 PM on June 29, 2011


Hmm why don't you suggest it to them?
posted by stratastar at 11:10 PM on June 29, 2011


Thanks Lupus! I got your email, but the system seems shut down again. I'll just keep an eye out for an opening!
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:42 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm actually having fun playing with this, which is something that never really happened with FB (except when playing with the API, which is kind an unusual case)
posted by delmoi at 11:57 PM on June 29, 2011


I particularly like the "View profile as..." feature for your own profile. The default for it is "Anyone on the web", which shows your public profile, but you can enter in any of your contacts and you can see your profile as they see it. Pretty nice.

Thanks again, lupus! I hope this takes off.
posted by brundlefly at 11:59 PM on June 29, 2011


So does Google+ hook in with Google Reader in any way? My circle of friends uses that for sharing quite a bit.
posted by cerbous at 2:07 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sparks seems backed by Google News instead of some mix of Reader and News, which I think would be more useful. Also, less harrowing. The first thing I got when I typed "kittens" into Sparks was a news story about a man lighting a kitten on fire.

Auto-categorization of the shit in my Reader account (and related content Google thinks might be relevant to my interests) would be handier.
posted by sparkletone at 2:35 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it run faster than Google Wave did? (I think that's half of what killed Wave - it was just too sluggish on most systems/connections.)
posted by Karmakaze at 6:28 AM on June 30, 2011


I particularly like the "View profile as..." feature for your own profile.

Facebook has this too. Very clever.
posted by smackfu at 6:42 AM on June 30, 2011


smackfu: "Facebook has this too. Very clever."

D'oh! Really? Well, it's certainly not obvious to me.
posted by brundlefly at 8:20 AM on June 30, 2011


Hm. I like it. It's Facebook distilled down to its essence, and honestly a lot more intuitive (not least of all because Facebook's evolved between several very different concepts).

I'm also liking Google's new visual identity a lot. Definitely a "back to basics" thing for them, and a return to a less cluttered UI, which is finally starting to tie their products together. (Google+ is what Buzz should have been from Day 1)

Their use of (very well done) custom icons and custom UI widgets is pretty great too. Although I'm still sort of wrapping my head around circles, sparks, and hangouts, I haven't found myself making any guesses about the UI. Everything seems very well planned and executed.

I'm still not a huge fan of the dark navbar, and the jury's still out on the new homepage. However, the new look is great in Maps, and the YouTube player finally looks like a professionally-designed product. I hope that they start rolling out some more UI tweaks to GMail. The activity pane is nice, but GMail's entire UI could really use a scrubbing.

Actually, I just checked out the Hangouts feature. That could very well be Google+'s "killer app." Nobody else is doing easy multiway videoconferencing for free. That said, I think this could easily turn into the next chatroulette or evening-news-sexting-freakout." *Grabs Popcorn.*
posted by schmod at 8:35 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Actually, I just checked out the Hangouts feature. That could very well be Google+'s "killer app." Nobody else is doing easy multiway videoconferencing for free. That said, I think this could easily turn into the next chatroulette or evening-news-sexting-freakout." *Grabs Popcorn.*"

Yeah. I'm pretty sure it's just a matter of time before I inadvertently flash someone and/or go spelunking for boogers on live video chat. Also, now I feel like I have to put on makeup just to spend the night fucking off on the internet.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:39 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Make-up? I'm going to have to put pants.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:41 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, that's what my Snuggie is for.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:43 AM on June 30, 2011


Hmm why don't you suggest it to them?

Oh, believe me. I have. :)

Anybody else taken a look at the mobile app (Android only so far) yet? It's pretty slick too, and it can automatically upload pictures you take to a private album. Then, you can share the ones you want. Though strangely enough, the Picasa face tags show up when I view my pictures through the app...
posted by natabat at 8:47 AM on June 30, 2011


After using this for a day or so, I'm still can't figure out a good way to use Google+ to coordinate the action of groups, which was really the only reason I had buy-in on Facebook to begin with. Facebook groups let everybody in the group communicate on a level playing field. It's hard to see how you would do that with circles - unless everybody maintained identical copies of the same circle.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:05 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the invite Lupus. I missed the window to get in but it looks like the once your invited you can get in during the next window.
posted by philcliff at 10:28 AM on June 30, 2011


I have one of those huge, black, binder clips over my webcam. It's permanent now.
posted by pearlybob at 10:29 AM on June 30, 2011


D'oh! Really? Well, it's certainly not obvious to me.

Account (top right) > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings (middle) > Preview My Profile (top right)
posted by smackfu at 10:39 AM on June 30, 2011


Thanks, smackfu.
posted by brundlefly at 10:57 AM on June 30, 2011


if someone got an invitation for me... that's be superb :)
posted by tcp at 2:20 PM on June 30, 2011


If someone has an extra invitation they could send my way I would be incredibly greatful!
posted by metaZac at 2:49 PM on June 30, 2011


Anybody who needs inviting, drop me a MeMail. I don't mind being nagged. :)
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:53 PM on June 30, 2011


This is google's effort to kill the iPhone. The Android integration is awesome.
posted by k8t at 7:42 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm VERY impressed with Google+. The "hang out" feature allows tons of people to video chat and watch YouTube videos together. The status updates are like a blend of Twitter and Facebook. You have so much choice about publishing EVERY LITTLE THING to public or certain groups of people. All in all, I like this A LOT.
posted by k8t at 7:43 PM on June 30, 2011


If anyone is having trouble send or receiving invites via email, the workaround is to add that person's gmail address to a circle, then share something with that circle, making sure to check the "share via email" option. They will then receive an email with an orange button prompting them to join.
posted by gimli at 6:03 AM on July 1, 2011


Derail: What happened to Rory? I was just starting to like him. Because, you know, Rory from Dr Who 11.
posted by Mike Mongo at 11:44 AM on July 5, 2011


Rory is still on Google Plus. From the sound of his postings he wants to focus on his own blog now.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:38 PM on July 5, 2011


Ohoh. I'm late to the discussion as I was out of town. Here's a caution about using Google+ for sharing photos.
posted by Goofyy at 7:29 AM on July 11, 2011


Mike Mongo: “Derail: What happened to Rory? I was just starting to like him. Because, you know, Rory from Dr Who 11.”

He is indeed awesome. Nota bene: this is the second time he's disabled his MeFi account to work on other stuff, so it's certainly not some drama thing. He is also around if one seeks to find him on the internet.
posted by koeselitz at 9:04 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been playing with it, and while I like it, it's just another feed to monitor. A lot of my friends would have to switch over and start using the hang out feature before I'd seriously consider switching over from Facebook.
posted by codacorolla at 9:53 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay !!!! Tracie sent me an invite (thank you!) and I'm now on Google PLus :)

So.... ummm ... now what?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:13 PM on July 11, 2011


I have invites if anyone wants one. email me at the account in my profile.
posted by dave78981 at 9:11 PM on July 13, 2011


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