14 July 2011 (Thursday) - Google Plus

I woke up feeling refreshed and raring to go. As I bounced out of bed I looked at the clock: 3.20am (!) I tried to go back to sleep, dozed a little, and felt like death warmed up when I was actually supposed to get up.
To work, which was rather productive for a change. And then home again to find two separate invitations to join Google Plus. I say “to find” – I saw a good friend talking about Google Plus on Facebook, and I sulked until he sent me a request to join. So I followed that request to find I’d been invited by another friend already.
At the moment you can only join Google Plus by invitation only. And so now I’m part of the elite. Having said that, if they will take me they will take anyone.

So – what is Google Plus like? In principle it’s much the same as Facebook or Yahoo Messenger or MySpace, really. You tell the world whatever banal pettiness you want to tell them, and you read about the mundane trivialities of your friends’ lives.
It has a feature in that you can arrange your friends and contacts in “circles” and so you can lump together all your friends from one part of your life into a separate circle from your friends from another part of your life. Rather than sharing every bit of triviality with everyone, you get to choose who sees what particular bit of drivel you’re spouting. Effectively it’s a partitioned version of Facebook.
This is a “feature”, and is clearly using the I.T. definition of the word. Personally I’d rather hear more from someone than only about that which we initially think we have in common. If all I spoke about was kites, I’d never know that my mate was also keen on astronomy, reptiles and poker.
I suppose with less than a dozen “friends” on Google Plus (as opposed to hundreds on Facebook) it’s rather early for me to dismiss Google Plus out of hand…. But …

The other day two good friends independently told me they had no idea that next Friday is Canterbury Beer Festival. I take a lot of time and put in a lot of effort to make sure my Google Calendar (accessible through this blog) is up to date and is visible to the world. And the very people for whom this calendar is intended don’t even look at it.
I have sent people messages via Facebook over the last few weeks. Despite their constantly posting stuff on Facebook, they insist they’ve not logged on to the thing for months.
People tell me they’ve sent me emails and texts that I’ve never received. Skype, Yahoo messenger, ICQ, MySpace have all come and gone. Trying to contact people via email and mobile phone is an ultimately frustrating pursuit as everyone changes mobile phone number and email address so often.

So here we are – Google Plus. Yet another way to try to keep in touch. Will it be any more effective that that which has gone before? To be fair to Google Plus it is still very early days. But I really don’t see what advantages it has over what is already available. Having said that, currently communications don’t work so it can’t hurt to give the thing a fair trial. If any of my loyal readers would like to join the elite over on Google Plus, just drop me a line.

Having said that, the first person I attempted to induct into the elite has told me she’s just had a reply back saying “Exceeded Field Trial Capacity”…..

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