Ok...so the wait is over. Months of "Wonder what's Google upto?" questions were laid to rest as Google, amidst much expectation, unveiled Google+. After using pretty much most of the features of Google's new venture that makes the entire web a social network of sorts, and with the constant, handy updates from our in-house customer care representative Bharath Ravi, here's what I think of G+.
- It's from Google - so its no-nonsense. Vic Gundotra and his colleagues at Google must've carefully observed what Facebook lacks in terms of privacy. And so circles, voila! You can make a few circles see your pictures, see what you +1'ed, view your posts or my personal favourite - you can even control your status in chat as available/busy to circles you choose! Clearly, as far as privacy goes, this is a BIG win for Google+.
- The Hangout feature - video chatting with upto 10 people at once. Instant hit! Microsoft+Skype - can read 'em and weep! Facebook intends to counter that soon with Skype integration in its chat, but since Facebook chat itself is very basic and lacks features in my opinion, it'll be interesting to see how this works.
- There's a lot of integration. A LOT. Picasa photos taken during early Surathkal days show up randomly in the stream and make you think - "What really? When was this taken?". A little nostalgia ensues. G+ for that!
- When all these features come together on your mobile phone, the experience will be quite amazing. The Android app is already being downloaded like there's no tomorrow, and an app for the iPhone is expected soon.
Before all the google-tards, who feel 'satisfied'(TWSS!) by clicking the "Mute post' button or love the animation when you delete a circle and tweet "Google+ roxxx \m/" I'd also like to point out a few con's of Google+
- The omnipresence of Google with its products in almost every imaginable domain from search to maps to shopping to Music to Scholar to 3D modelling to creating and sharing articles(which I always thought had the potential to be as neat as Quora) makes it so much easier to integrate all that you do on any Google product into one giant behemoth and bring anything you do online under the social network umbrella. And I don't think I'd be okay with that. For instance, if you'd cheaply +1'ed your own googlesites page hoping to increase its pagerank(we've all been there!) or had +1'ed something you'd rather not want to share(in any circle), or secretly +1'ed Justin Bieber, or countless other occasions, G+ still shows all those pages as part of your profile! But the good thing is, there are privacy options at each step in G+, so you can choose how a person, or a circle of friends, or anyone on the web, can view your profile, or the things posted by you. If you don't set the privacy controls at each step, you can kiss your online privacy goodbye.
- From the Orkut(why is it still there btw?) days to Google+, Google and the Internet, have come a long, long way. But, Facebook has a 700 million user headstart, so Google+ has a long, long way before it can dethrone Facebook. So all the people who're busy beaming about Google+ on Google+ and on Facebook and on Twitter(and in real-life) as if Google+ is the next best thing that was ever made after the western commode, chill.
- Now it means there'll be an extra tab on my browser that'll always be open, alongwith Twitter and Facebook. Great. Work productivity RIP.