Why is it that google can’t figure out how to launch a new product? They’ve just launched google+ (stupid name) which bears more than a little resemblance to Facebook, but with – supposedly – a better privacy setup. Not that that would be hard, as Facebook don’t even pretend to be concerned with privacy, and do everything they can to take a little more away each time they change something.
But this launch! First of, it’s "restricted". Well, maybe it’s just me, but the ability to test a social network that won’t let people join is kinda limited. In fact, think I’ve got about five people I’ve linked to. Seriously, how can it be tested when I’m linking to five people, spread across multiple timezones around the globe?
Second, they have opened up the invites a couple of times, but then have almost immediately closed them, leading to a LOT of very annoyed people who didn’t get in after google said invites were open. Nice way to build goodwill when you’re building a network designed to take on one with an installed userbase of over half-a-billion users.
Thirdly, they haven’t thought out the naming conventions at all – the whole "google+" thing, and the "+1" is all over the shop, as it works differently in different contexts.
It brings back (horrific) memories of when they launched ‘Wave’ – I’d explain to you what that was about, but nobody on earth seems to know. So along with no defined explanation or mission statement, it also had to contend with the same stupidity we see here – hardly anyone was allowed in, so therefore almost nobody was using it, and those who were had hardly anyone to interact with. They’ve since ditched it. #epicfail.
TBH, google+ looks interesting, but not compelling. If you’ve used FB, then you pretty much know how to use google+. It has some easier to use stuff like circles, which makes it easy to publish stuff only to certain groups, or you can just default it to public, for anyone to read (so it’s just like FB groups, which nobody uses, but this is easier to implement).
Sparks looks like a bad RSS feed of things you’re interested in – I can’t see this working in its current state for anyone who uses RSS feeds, or has regular websites they visit.
Huddle – Some sort of group messaging, it seems. I’d like to try it, but given google won’t let most of my mates on, it’s difficult.
Hangouts – live multi-person video chat. I’d like to try it, but given google won’t let most of my mates on, it’s difficult.
Maybe it will be good, maybe it will disappear like Wave. Time will tell, I guess, but they MUST get a lot more people involved before everyone forgets it, or gets so suspicious of it after another couple of false starts that they don’t bother.