I recently got onto Google+. I am not a fan of social networking, in general. In theory, it’s a good idea — get updates on your friends or old acquaintances when you feel like it. Every once in a while, I get a “I wonder how he is” feeling about an old high-school friend or something.
On the other hand, I don’t like social networks for other things. I’m married, so no need to search through friends of friends hoping to get a date. No desire to do quick status updates. Somehow, telling the world that I’m “eating breakfast” just doesn’t interest me, or frankly, the world.
With that mindset, I decided to try Google+. I wasn’t aiming for an invite, but an existing user sent me one when he got on. I immediately disliked it. Here’s my knee-jerk first impression on it.
It looks just like facebook.
For pete’s sake, Google! Are you trying to be Microsoft and assimilate all? I mean the front page looks just like a facebook wall. Placement of things in the same location, same endless indented dribble. Same UI experience.
It works worse than facebook.
I can’t associate different google IDs with it — what if I want to use a different one? No option for that. With Facebook, I knew I created an ID. With Google, I’m forced to integrate the Google ID I use for junk-mail, since I don’t want to risk spam on the few non-spammed accounts I have.
The circles concept is ok, I guess. It’s just different friend lists. The nice thing about Google+ is that it’s pretty much only geeks right now. This means that the updates are at least interesting, while facebook has become a lot of, “Check out these cute cats!” type posts. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad for my friends to contact me — even if it is to show me cute cat pictures — but with facebook, I feel obliged to do those social things I don’t really want to. With Google+, since no-one is on it, I don’t have to worry about it.
I found the privacy settings to be worse than facebook, personally. I couldn’t change things after I set them — like first name. and getting the UI up for things like who can see what info was a pain. Luckily, I had used a junk ID, and not one I care about. Google+ may become big — but for a reason I won’t understand. I don’t see why myspace and facebook became big when friendster was around. I view the success of both those as brand targetting. Google+ may win, but I don’t see why. Facebook is more than good enough for now, has slightly better UI design, and really is pretty good as far as social networking goes.
One good thing.
Google+ has the advantage of being new, and hence, not having a lot of facebook’s users. It’s one place I can go and get away from my parents, who don’t know what it is. I can, for now, control who I bring into it. Eventually, everyone will be on there, and I’ll be back to feeling obligated to comment on cats…