7.26.11

The +s and -s of Google+

BY KRISTI PETRIE

I was thrilled to receive a Google+ invite. With all the hype surrounding it, I couldn't wait to get in, try it out and let the judging begin. The jury's still out, but here are some of the things that jumped out at me...

PROS

  • Love the circles! This does away with the time I spend asking myself "are you okay with EVERYONE seeing this post in your friend list" before posting it.
  • I love having one window open (Gmail) in my browser for all my personal e-tasks.
  • Dig the Sparks. I can easily find timely information on the Web about all the topics that interest me (and ignore that ones that don't!)
  • Found this great app which allows you to quickly copy all your Facebook photos over to Picasa. The upside? I feel like all my photos are safer in Picasa. The downside? The captions and comments don't come over with them. You can get the app but make sure to use Chrome to get it.
  • I've heard great things about the Hangouts, but haven't actually tried it. Personally, I don't even like talking on the phone, can't imagine I'd choose video chat over an IM.
  • I like the interface. It's comfortable and clean. And no ads... yet.

CONS

  • Not crazy about having to set up another profile.
  • Having so much personal information, interests and friendships available to Google is kind of scary. Not only do they target ads in my Gmail, but now they can find out even more about me. It's already hard enough to say no to their highly-targeted ads, now they can be even more relevant and enticing.
  • Only a few friends have joined. A social network is only as good as, well, your personal social network and without friends around, it defeats the whole purpose.
  • Until (and if) friends make the switchover, I am stuck checking multiple social networks. That's pretty time consuming.

Bottomline: I'd love to leave Facebook for something better. Google+ could be it. But only if the majority of my friends do the same. I've put way too much time into finding and friending, nurturing my virtual relationships, staying in touch and bulking up the content on my profile so people have something to look at to just give it all up for Google.

EXTRA INFO

Interesting, promising stats can be found at Mashable. They certainly reflect the hype, and I expect them to go down as time goes on. I've also seen some over-excited articles about the potential of Google+.

Sick of social networking altogether? Try fbbreak, the pet project of Carbon8's own Rachel Ridings. Inspired by the clarity a recent week hiatus from Facebook gave her, she's bringing the experience to fanatical Facebookers everywhere. Think of it as virtual therapy for your real life.

Kristi Petrie
written by KRISTI PETRIE
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