It’s been over a week since I have started using Google+ and till now it has been a brilliant experience. This is a set of features I really like and could differentiate it from Facebook, it’s biggest competitor, even if Google acknowledges that fact.
Circles – People might really like the idea of Circles because of privacy implications, but for me I like because of totally different reason. I don’t keep a lot of things private, but I always worry about spamming a set of people who are not concerned with the kind of things I am sharing. For example, I have these two best friends who I really want to talk and share a lot of information, but I don’t like to share technology related news/analysis with them as they are not techies. Now, I have a way of spreading the news to set of people I want to share with and neglect others.
Circles also help me categorize the news that is important to me. I created a Circle Geeks2Follow and am using that feed page as Google Reader shared items. Google Reader shared items had a problem that it did not contain the comment thread or could maintain the real time feedback. Now, I see the immediate reaction of people and don’t have to wait till one needs to write a full post. This is same that could be achieved at Friendfeed, but combining both experiences makes it great. It also solves the issue of now having threaded conversation on Twitter.
Huddle & Hangout - I see a lot of advantage of these two features, both of them deal with groups and that’s where most of my conversation takes place. Hangout would be one thing that I would surly like to use on my podcast, this way we could capture audio and video in a very synchronized way. Hangout is also useful in doing some group meetings, because this does not involve installing clients, changing firewall settings and so on. Another feature of hangout that I use most is watching youtube videos with friends. This has given a totally new experience of watching videos and has taken it to social level.
Huddle is useful for communicating while traveling. We do a lot of our business communication via N1 and always had issue of not having group chat functionality on phones. Huddle solves it and also makes it more SMS like, thus solving the issue of not wanting everyone to be online to start the conversation.
Search – One thing that will improve drastically is search results and I have already started seeing the impact of social graph. This morning I searched for ‘Google Plus Features’ and third search result was from Matt Cutts, and it read – Matt Cutts shared this (image below). Definitely as more users build in, we will see a lot of improved results.
Everything else is more or less the same, similar to other social networks like Facebook. I drastically reduced using Facebook because of lack of energy there and most of the people spending time on Zynga. One main feature that I liked about Facebook was it’s event system. It used to work well when I was in grad school. Was very useful in planning events. Google+ needs to add that into their system as well, Calendars is already a good feature just it needs to be integrated with Google+.
Feature Wish List
Mute should permanently mute the post and I don’t need to see any comments that have been put after my comment, I also don’t need a notification mail for that. I am using mute post as a ‘read post’ feature, to clear of my stream. One way to solve is to add another feature called ‘read’. So, if I have read and commented then I should get notifications and if I commented and muted, then I should not get any notifications.
Android client for Google+ also needs a mute(and read) functionality, as I am consuming most of the content on my N1.
Similar to Picasa integration, we should have YouTube integration too. I have a set of videos on Youtube and none of them got imported to Google+ and I added few videos to Google+ and they are not on youtube. If that functionality can be added, it would be perfect. Of course here an option would be given, if you want to make the video public or not, as youtube does not have same privacy settings.
Overall, it’s been a very experience with Google+. Surely early adopters like it a lot, we will have to wait and see how masses will react to it.