Google+ first impressions

As usual Google first ignored my begging for an invite on the official page, but Florian Rohrweck (http://www.stilbruch.at) somehow had pity with me and sacrificed one of his invites for me. Thanks a lot, Florian!
After one minute on google+ I knew this would be a long night and way too little sleep.

The startpage reminded me a little bit of another social network, just less blue…

 

 

Google+ mainly constists of your google profile, a stream including your and your contacts posts – analog to google buzz, photos from Picasa or uploaded ones, +1 entries, videos and the brand new features as:

  1. hangout
  2. sparks
  3. circles

Hangouts is an unlimited video chat with your contacts and/or circles. Unfortunately I cannot tell anything personally about hangout, as I – shame on me – I do not own a webcam… But I will get one and try it out soon.

Google hangout

Google hangout

The feedback from others I noticed was entirely positive, so let’s see.

Sparks is a news collection of various interests you can choose from or define by yourself.

Google sparks

Google sparks

To me it seems yet unfinished and the results – at least for my fields of interest are kinda clumsy. Nevertheless sparks is interesting, if improved und and pimped up – maybe with recomendations of your contacts from google Reader or +1 items. I’m curious where the fellas at google are heading with sparks. Now with unpersonalized and sketchy news from preselected sources, like affirmed blogs and the big news services, it’s quite boring, spiced up with a personal taste and more mojo, it might be entertaining and helpful.

Circles is the name for the innovative, neat and sexy contact management system of google+. Circles represent groups you define as you wish and as many as needed, a contact is allowed to be part of several different circles. Your circles are not visible to public and contacts just know they are in your circles, but do not know in which specific circle(s). This is a great advantage towards facebook as you merely follow people like on twitter.

google circles

google circles

The shared pictures, links, articles, videos and so on in your stream you send to the circles you chose, which gives complete and absolutely precise control about the visibilty of your posts.

At first time you set up your circles, you will get recommendations from your Gmail contacts and if you took part from Google Buzz.
Managing your contact list with circles is fun – yeah really! Either you choose to drag-and-drop your contacts – as single or in groups – on the circles page or you just organize them as you find them in posts, comments or +1ed lists…

There are some hidden new features, too, if you now google your own name, you will find your google profile first in line in the results, before the google profile pages did hardly show up on the first pages.

Google+ does not just have sunny sides, the photo integration of Picasa is not properly realised, Alexander Kunz wrote a precise article of the problems with Picasa on google+.
In your Profile in the +1 area only pages you “plusoned” are displayed, it would be nice to see the posts I +1ed, too…

The big question will be how google is handling privacy and the data they get fed with, will they adopt habits from their opponent facebook?

For the first days on, according to me, Google+ does a great job and I am curious how it develops.

Some Links:

Google+ demo

The Google+ Project

20 Google+ Tips to Enhance Your Google Plus Experience

 

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