Walking around in CirclesPosted: 18/09/2011
A little while ago internet giant Google launched their own social network service to compete with major player Facebook called Google+. Most people asked the question: “Is there really room for another social network?” Besides that, how could Google improve on what Facebook was doing a very good job at already? My first thought was that Google really had to innovate to win over the social media lovers. And if anyone is up to that task, it’s Google.
However, the first thing that immediately set me back is the fact that Google+ at the time of writing still is in beta. That means if you want to sign up for the service, you’ll have to receive an invitation from someone else. So I did some asking around on Facebook (irony?) and a little later my Google+ adventure was about to begin. Now, I am speaking for myself when I say that I feel Google is not known for their aesthetics. Most of their sites are very functional but not very pleasing to the eye. It’s sad to say the same holds true for the Google+ site. I guess function goes before form at Google headquarters.
At first glance, everything is conveniently arranged. The layout instantly reminds of Facebook, which is obviously tried and tested. The thing that sticks out and what really sets aside Google+ is the Circles function. Contacts can be added to Circles; the default Circles include the obvious friends, acquaintances and family. Through the Circles you can choose what you see and what you share with whom. My distribution of contacts among the Circles would probably be mostly among the default ones, if I had more than five contacts available while I’m writing this. Although for some other people this can certainly be a convenient function, for me this doesn’t have a whole lot of added value. Most of the people I add on a social network are friends, so they would all go into one circle. I haven’t got much to hide from most of my contacts, and if I did I would probably just block them, or not accept their request in the first place.
I don’t think Google+ has got what it takes to overtake Facebook as the most used social network. Everything Google+ does, Facebook does better. The Circles function, which was probably the biggest and best innovation on the social network services already available, has been shamelessly copied by Facebook. They recently implemented the function to create lists of contacts, similar to the Circles found in Google+. So the only thing Google+ had on Facebook, is now on Facebook as well. I will certainly keep an eye on Google+, but right now I don’t believe this will be a great hit.