Google+ in the wild, part 2

One post does not make a series so here comes part 2. More on actually using Google+, this time with a focus on those Circles that everyone keeps mentioning and how you can use them when posting. If you haven’t read part 1 you can find it here.

Enforced sorting of friends and contacts

Do you remember the GMail slogan “Search, don’t sort”? Cool, now forget it. Google thinks that sharing and reading is better when your contacts are sorted in to lists, so does Facebook (if this was a scientific publication you would find a link to that Mark Z statement), the biggest difference here is that G+ has lists from the start. You will therefore be forced to place your new contact in at least one Circle, you could of course create one huge circle but no good will come from that so please don’t. Sorting people into Circles are surprisingly funny, it looks good, you drag and drop and get neat animations to keep you going.

As I should have mentioned last post but didn’t you will every time you share something decide who will see what. This is in my humble opinion very intuitive and I hardly notice doing it. Still it’s the same function that you have in Facebook with lists just enforced and more user friendly designed. This is how it looks (in Swedish, sorry bout that).

This post would be shared with “Circles” (that’s “Kretsar” on the left) and a circle called “Friends” (you guessed it, “Vänner” on the right). Note that since “Friends” is one of my circles, this post would be shared with them even without me adding it, I have already selected “My circles” where it’s included. So why did I bother adding them again? The little popup in the picture shows some settings that I can set for each circle unrelated to each other. This is very well though out if you ask me. It means that I can share this post with all my circles and it will show up in their stream (a.k.a Newsfeed if your that kind of guy/gal) but for the circle “Friends” I choose not only display it in their stream but also Notify them by ticking the check box. I can also select that for those in that circle that haven’t yet created an G+ account to get my shared post via e-mail. Nice! I’m guessing however that we’ll see some misuse of both these features so a quick pointer, don’t notify all your friends of everything you post. They will not be happy. Also, if your friend haven’t got G+, don’t e-mail share everything you post with them. They will not be happy. One could guess that Google are trying to draw traffic, users and continuously pulling you back…

Now it’s time to get into something very very important. If you don’t understand this you won’t understand Google+. Dramatic entrance eh? Plus uses what in fancy words are called “asynchronous friendlist” (I love that word! I’m using it several times a day right now). In simple words it means that your friends are not the same thing as people that are friends with you. There is no friend request in G+ you just add whoever you want. “What a!” I hear you screaming but hold on. What Google is trying to accomplish is a replica of the Twitter way of following people you find interesting, there is even a default circle called “Following”. If the person you found interesting enough to follow feels the same way about you, he/she can follow you back and put you in any circle applicable. So what does the following mean? Nothing really. Adding someone to a circle has two effects, you can easily follow any public posts they make and you can easily share with that person as described above. You will not see post with limited visibility  (i.e. circles) and your posts will not show up in their stream. Your posts will instead show up in the separate “Incoming” feed for a person that you follow but that doesn’t follow you. Was that clear enough?

That’s part 2 folks, don’t know how many it will be but I have room for at least one more…
Oh! Almost forgot, now days you can +1 on any post here in the blog. Exactly what it does is not that clear, it will show on your Google profile, it might affect my search listings (but I don’t know how…) and I will get a bit happier. I consider it a tip-jar that doesn’t cost you anything to use :)

Google+ in the wild pt. 1

Not tired of reading about Google+ yet? Since I’ve been using it for a while now I figured I could share some thought on how it works, what you could do with it and maybe most interesting what Google need to do to make it work. First up, the conversations concept.

“Real life sharing and conversations, rethought for the web

Catchy? You bet. Does it really differs from other services? Sort of.
Google does it best to convince us that Plus really is different, not another Facebook, not another Twitter and most certainly, not another Buzz. The use of “Circles” are one thing that is a bit different. Facebook has list and encourages you to use them, Google instead call this circles and enforces it. When adding a contact you have to put them in one or more circles. Those circles are then the basis on who you share with, what you read and how private you want to stay. All to mimic how you decide what group of people to sit with at the party and what story you will share with them. This is not a major different, no matter how many times it’s repeated that people don’t use the lists in facebook. Some do (me included) and others could. It’s how those lists/circles are used that is the difference (and to some extent the creating of circles that really is simple and quite fun, yes I like organizing things).

Because the conversation concept doesn’t stop there, just like I can tell you a story that you later on will re-tell for another friend plus will let you reshare a post to any of your circles. This means that what was once a private conversation could go very public. Google just reinvented gossip. The nice thing with G+ gossip is that you will be notified and you can also do a “this is a secret don’t tell anyone” by disable resharing. So far Google hasn’t found a way to stop your friends from spreading it manually i.e. copy it or just use good old fashioned verbal skills. Google should make the share/gossip possibilities much more clear. Not only because it’s a very nice feature but also, like it or not people are used to facebooks way of (not) dealing with resharing, it doesn’t matter how much better this is. I’m guessing that are just waiting…

People will of course be upset, I’m sure we will at one time or another hear a threat about a class action suite. In my opinion the conversations/sharing concept is great but it has to be made very very clear, we all know that people don’t read the instructions carefully and that will always be somebody else fault.

I think I’ll take a brake here and let this turn into a little series of post. Looking at one thing at the time is much more fun :)