Well something had to wake me up! It arrived this morning, courtesy of an invite from Paul Hobson which worked! I guess it’s connected to having your Google language set to English(US) – yes it rankles but it has its benefits. Anyway, I’m up and running and have given it the once over.
I like Circles – they look a much better alternative to Facebook Groups in two use cases (at least):
- For closely defined groups that you want to keep reasonably leak-proof for people you trust (ie family and REAL friends) or who have a coherence of their own (ie a volunteer group, charity, etc), it could really work as a virtual meeting-point and archive of activity.
- For corporates frightened of Facebook and never having taken to Yammer, then Circles could be the answer as you can define your own circles and again (and I haven’t checked the security model in detail yet) retain an element of firewall to the circle. [I’ll report back on that in a later post.]
In addition to Circles, I do like the way Google+ is presented; the way your profile is shown, the way you can edit it and the detail you can change so that you can really present yourself, the way you want to be [I haven’t quite worked-out the various communication symbols yet … but I will by the end of the day!]. I also like the presentation on the iPad – the mobile version – it’s really clean and passes usability tests (for me). Finally (and here I’m speaking as a Chrome and iGoogle user) the integration with the rest of the Google stuff on the desktop is really good. In my Chrome taskbar, I now have a David+ tab, and a notifications button, and the same is true of iGoogle – a new tab has appeared.
You can see the future on the Google desktop therefore – this is what it will look like. I think, just possibly, Google may have got this right – perhaps the time and effort in getting it wrong with Wave and Buzz might have not been so bad a thing after all.
Finally, the integration with Picasaweb is also very good and I wait to test the video chat functionality – this could be the real killer functionality. I think Facebook have got a real competitor this time, and for corporates (as long as the security model is granular) there may be a good entry-level collaboration suite to add to the increasing Google in the Cloud offering.