2011/06/29

Google Plus and DHMN

Google just released it's latest online social media product, Google +, or, phonetically speaking, Google Plus (Gplus).

Google + has, predictably, gotten a mix of favorable and negative early reviews. Because online social media depends on effectively leveraging the network effect, or Metcalfe's Law, Google Plus will ultimately be successful only if a very large number of people (and their 'friends') open an account on the service and use it frequently. Like all 'interaction' services, as Om Malik refers to them in his blog post excerpt below, people will use and enjoy Gplus only if a large number of other people in their personal networks also start using it and continue to use it. Email has more users (I think) than instant messaging (IM) because it's easier to connect with (almost) everyone who's online via email, while limited interoperability between different IM systems makes it more challenging (or impossible) to IM all the people in one's personal networks. The trend for younger people to use IM as a preferred alternative to email may one day make IM more popular than email (if it didn't already). Texting may (probably does) already have more users than either email or texting if it connects the largest universe of users.

As a result of reading about Google Plus and hearing comments from a couple DHMN members (Distributed Hacker/Maker Network), it is my strong recommendation that all DHMN members open an account on Gplus and make a strong effort to use it, along with the Google Groups mailing list, to interact with other DHMN members (as well as others in their personal networks).

Google launched its much awaited and highly anticipated social networking platform today to a limited number of users. Dubbed Google+ (Plus), the service…is about the harsh reality of Google saving and enhancing its core franchise — Google Search…Today, search is not just about pages, but also about people and the relevance of information to them…Gundotra said that this is the first step by the company in its long social journey…Google…has leveraged its infrastructure to offer an array of services and…granular privacy that average folks can understand…In order to use Google +, you need to have a Google account, though it doesn’t…mean you need to have a Google Mail account…Circles: Google has come up with the concept of circles — you can create a circle of contacts that are family, friends, work friends, former co-workers and so on…you can define who gets to see what kind of updates…Hangout: This just might be the killer feature of Google + effort. It is essentially group video chat done right…Hangout felt intuitive and easy to use…Huddle: This is a mobile group-chat service that is very much like Beluga…Instant Uploads: It has also come up with a new approach to mobile photos & videos…Sparks: It is a new feature that allows you to create topics of interest and use them as source of information and then share it with various different groups…instead of getting bogged down by the old-fashioned notion of communication – phone calls, emails, instant messages and text messages – it needs to think about interactions…Google needs to think of a world beyond Google Talk, Google Chat and Google Voice…interactions are synchronous, are highly personal, are location-aware and allow the sharing of experiences…Interactions are supposed to mimic the feeling of actually being there…Google is thinking along these lines and is building products with a mobile-first point of view…Google+ should give folks at companies such as Blekko, Skype and a gaggle of group messaging companies a pause…Skype Video can easily be brought to its knees by Google Plus’ Hangout…the only way to beat Facebook is through a thousand cuts. Photo sharing services such as Instagram can move attention away from Facebook, much like other tiny companies who can bootstrap themselves based on Facebook social graph and then built alternative graphs to siphon away attention from Facebook. Google could…go one step further – team up with alternative social graphs such as Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr…”
I don't know yet if Google is doing the 'share your invites' approach for early users of the service, but if that's one way more people are added to Google Plus, DHMN members who get into Gplus early should forward invites to those members who don't yet have an account. And if you didn't sign up yet for an early invite, please do so now.

('Google Plus,' 'Google +' and 'Gplus' have been sprinkled throughout this post as I try to figure out which one rolls most easily off one's visual/mental tongue...)

Because common 'interaction' tools help make a community stronger, and because the DHMN already uses Ggroups, Gcalendar and Gdocs, it seems appropriate and advantageous for us to make a concerted effort to wring all the Google Goodness we can out of Google Plus.

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