Sunday, July 3, 2011

Google+ Offers a "Do-Over" for Facebook Users

Google’s latest attempt at a social network to rival Facebook is getting a ton of great buzz so far. Google+ invites are few and far between right now, as Google is slowly rolling the new service out. I’ve been dying for an invite, but have had no such luck yet. So, I’ve been reading everything I can get my eyes on about the features of the service, as well as the early feedback from the lucky users that have gotten in.

What I’ve gleaned so far, is that Google+ is a lot like Facebook, right down to the design of the user interface. There are difference of course, and the most glaring one right now seems to be the intuitiveness of the service, and the grouping system called “Circles.” The system allows you to separate your contacts into categories, and determine the level of information/content that you share with those groups of people. That to me is the single most exciting thing about Google+, as it gives me a chance to take what I’ve learned from using Facebook, and use that to create a brand new social network.

Think about it. How many of us wish we could go back to the beginning of our FaceBook days? Would you approach things differently? How many of us have blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives because we’ve “friended” everyone from general acquaintances to business clients, to our spouses? The biggest problem with Facebook for me right now is that I’ve reached a point of no return. It is what it is, and short of “de-friending” half of the people on my account, it’s hard to back out of what I’ve already done there. To be fair, Facebook does have ways to separate your friends into groups, but it’s not as intuitive as what Google is doing with Circles, and since I’ve never done it before, I would be going back through all of my current Facebook friends and trying to classify them, as opposed to doing it up front, as I’ll be able to with Google+.

Knowing what I know now, and seeing the potential of Google+, I am really excited to get another chance at setting up my social network from scratch. I don’t think I’m alone in that mindset, and I think that’s one of the factors creating so much excitement around Google+. I don’t think that people want another social network so much as they want a chance to start over.

What’s your take on Google+, and why are you excited (or ambivalent) about the new service?

P.S. Here’s a quick video about Circles: