what i watched last week
#48: sid and nancy (alex cox, 1986)

google+, three months in

Despite what you may have heard, Google+ still exists. No, it’s not Facebook, but for some, that might be a selling point rather than an entry on the debit side. Facebook seems to like G+, since they are scrambling to add services to FB that emulate G+. Meanwhile, Google is busy adding things, as well, which I’ll mention at the end of this post.

Personally, I haven’t seen a big growth in the number of G+ users with whom I interact. Most of the people I know who are interested have joined, and most of them are still around and reasonably active. I still see posts that say, in essence, “I still don’t know what this is or why I am here,” and yesterday, I saw my first “I never should have joined, bye” post. Most of my online friends, even those who use Google+, still assume their primary audience is on Facebook, so photos and the like get posted far more often at FB.

The majority of posts I see are still from geeks and techies. My family doesn’t show up very often. I do see a lot of posts from people I “know” but don’t really know. There are also a lot of posts that consist of links to other works by the poster (I’m guilty of this, myself). In short, amongst the people I know, there hasn’t been much growth over the last couple of months. (Of course, I have no idea what is going on in private and semi-private posts, which is something to keep in mind when you see G+ evaluated by the number of posts … no one knows how much is happening out of the public eye.)

Me, I find myself checking G+ before I check Facebook or Twitter. When there is breaking news of some sort, Twitter is always my first choice, but I use FB pretty much just to keep in touch with all the people I know who aren’t on G+. Yes, that’s a lot of people, but give Google time.

As for what Google is up to, the biggest news is that Google+ is out of beta. Well, I’ve used the wrong terminology. Up to now, G+ has been in “field trial”, and now it is in “beta”. Whatever … the key point is that anyone can now sign up for Google+. Invitations are no longer needed. Beyond that, Google has been working hard on Hangouts, the multi-user chat function in G+. They’ve added collaborative features, and for the first time, you can participate in Hangouts with your phone. The latter has been a point of contention for my son since the day he signed up, so he’ll be happy to see this new feature. Unfortunately, it requires a better version of Android than is currently available for the Sprint Epic 4G, so we’ll have to wait still longer to try this out.

Right now, Google+ feels kinda like Blu-Ray. Those of us who are dedicated to it consider it part of our daily lives, and we tend to forget that much of the world doesn’t care.