Folks have been asking me for my thoughts on Google+, the new Googlelicious social network, so:
I like it, for a few reasons: One, it doesn’t have an arbitrary cap on the number of people you can connect to; two, it’s easy to organize the people you connect with into buckets (Google calls them “circles”) that better reflect your actual relationship to those people; three, the interface is clean and minimal but effective; four, it’s not yet clogged up with bots and announcements from games I don’t give a crap about that one or another of my connections has bought a cow or taken over a castle or whatever. So: Clean, easy to use, not obnoxious. Is it perfect? No, but from my point of view it’s better put together than other social networks, if for no other reason than the people at Google have had time to look at all the mistakes MySpace and Facebook made (and the previous mistakes they made with Buzz and Google Wave) and avoid doing those. So far: it doesn’t suck.
Will I use it a lot? Got me. My main online hangout is here, followed by Twitter; I update both of those several times a day on average. I put a post on Facebook maybe once a week, partly because Facebook irritates me enough that I wish to spend as little time as possible on it while still keeping contact with friends who like it (I’ve mostly stopped adding “friends” there because I only have a couple hundred friend slots left and I want to keep those for people I actually know — sorry people I don’t know who want to be my Facebook “friend.”). I notice myself going to Google+ more than Facebook (or MySpace, or LinkedIn, etc) because I find it easier to get about in and so far it doesn’t annoy me technologically and philosophically like Facebook does. Take that as you will.
Would I recommend Google+? If you’re in the market for a social network, sure, why not. I still prefer my own blog, followed by Twitter, but provided you can get enough of your own pals to join up with you, Google+ does the things social networks are supposed to do — make it easy for you to stay connected with people you like/know/have some passing interest in — without making an ass of itself. So far, anyway; we’ll see if it lasts.