Feature Articles

The Google+ Experiment

The Google+ Experiment

What We Think of Google+

What We Think of Google+

Various members of the HardwareZone editorial team managed to experiment with Google+ over the past few days. From the social media junkie, to the occasional Facebook user, we have a wide variety of opinions regarding Google's new social network.

Terence Ang

Supervising Editor

Google+ beta is more of a nod from Google that it's making a course correction in its product development strategy. Eric Schmidt has made the admission, and Larry and Sergey are now steering it. Whether they'll speed up, slow down, reveal more of their destination, or reveal less, what they should do now is understand that users don't want another social media platform ala Facebook that lists 'personal updates and thoughts' to 'different circles of people'. Users want a social media platform that 'validates' their personal achievements and bring them closer to their friends' inner circles'.

What it does have going for it though is unlike Google Wave, and Google Buzz, where one was too complex to adapt into, and the other was too intrusive and forced, Google+ can be subtly integrated into the rest of Google's products. They have to make sense and benefit the user in a personalized way.

Zachary Chan

Creative Services Editor

Circles seem nice on paper, but they're like individual mini social networks on their own. Imagine customizing dozens of 'Circles'; that's a lot of micromanagement every time you want to post just so the 'right circle' sees it. With just one day of using, and I can no longer be bothered. I just lump everyone to the same circle or just post in Public. I already see quite a few people who have created multiple G+ accounts to handle different 'groups' of people and post content instead of customizing their Circles to do the same thing.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter where you can choose to authenticate people who wish to add you before they see your posts, anyone with your email (and since Gmail basically remembers everyone you've ever emailed/replied to, it's not that hard to find people) can simply add you to their Circles whether you want to or not, and they can immediately see all your Public posts.

Vincent Chang

Senior Tech Writer

You can probably argue that unlike Facebook, which has a burning need to monetize its social network to pay the bills (and make a bigger IPO), there's no such urgency on Google's part.

It could mean that the 'cleaner' ad-less feel of Google+ now may survive in the long run since Google can use the social network as a tool to mine user behavior to enhance its own search engine. Facebook has no other product but the network. Besides, Google's Adwords are pretty unobtrusive while some of Facebook's monetization strategies that comes with ad clutter may rub users the wrong way.

On a trust level, while both companies have issues, I think generally Google comes across more like a super dork who just happens to make some major missteps on things like privacy exactly because it's 'socially awkward' while Facebook and Zuckerberg especially has a more 'evil' Microsoftie vibe around it ("The Social Network" movie didn't help).

Seow Tein Hee

Senior Tech Writer

Unlike how Facebook does it, Notifications are consolidated onto a single dialog box within the Gmail or Google+ page. Furthermore, you can reply to comments straight from the notifications dialog box, saving you the hassle of clicking through multiple tabs or windows just to see that specific post. Deciding who should go into which Circles can be a tiring affair. As such, I'd rather put all my posts under Public, like how I usually do it for Facebook or Twitter. In short, there's just too much work involved to decide who should or shouldn't read my updates.

Wong Casandra

Tech Writer

What do I like about Google+? The Circles concept helps me segment my social network updates according to what I want to see from (Stream) or publish to a certain group of people. It keeps the whole experience of digital socializing a tad more realistic - in real life we don't go blasting things to everyone. You can do that in Facebook too and select people you want to hide things from, but it is more tedious due to the fact that your Facebook connections are all lumped under the broad umbrella term of "Friends".

As for the Google+ App, if you choose the Instant Photo option after logging in, your photos (any taken, with app switched on or off) will be instantly stored into a private folder on Google+. Instead of choosing a photo from another Gallery app to upload it, you can simply just select a photo from within Google+ and publish anytime you want.

Leo Boon Yeow

Tech Writer

With Google+, I can easily and instantly segregate people into circles (which is the crux of Google+, not an afterthought). My post gets distributed to the people in circles that I specify, with sharing disabled if required. Of course, you get to follow famous people (ala Twitter style) who don't even know you like Sergei Brin, Larry Page, and even Mark Zuckerberg in my circles. That is, if their posts are public.

I like it, but if they don't make it open while the hype is still there, chances are it's gonna end up like Wave. People who are interested, lose interest due to the difficulties of participating.