Can't wait for the details.
Edit: too soon, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2320224
I use it, but I hate it. I'm just too lazy to find something better and port my feeds over.
I don't personally use it, but my impression is that it's generally a much beloved product internally.
I specifically WANT something people just use to stay connected in a way they find palatable. Almost by definition anything that people obsess over will never have me as a member.
I can't be the only one.
The messaging system is terrible. Why can't they work at turning that into a more gmail type of experience. My feed is filled with crap I don't care about, I can't create groups of friends like "programmers" to whom I can share cool programming related links...
The list goes on but the site just doesn't work for me. After a couple minute I'm so annoyed I don't want to log back in. I'm not the only one, everyone I speak to seems to have the same issues as me but they still find use in the site and revisit it daily.
Yeah. It's ridiculous that there isn't an obvious link for your friends list when you log in. My daughter enlightened me to the unintuitive sequence of clicking Profile and then Friends.
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Yup. Circles was also the name of social groups in Microsoft's threedegrees software.
If they wanted an RTM then they should have gone for a misspelling.
It's actually kind of confusing. Saying you 'circled' someone sounds odd, since it's not quite accurate. 'in your circle' vs 'in my circle' is kind of clunky compared to 'following me' or 'I follow'.
They don't offer anything related to groups of friends, though. It's a generic implementation of the usual 'following' set up.
Similar to when you first enable Priority Inbox. It asks you to mark a dozen or so of your emails as important or not important, then it guesses the rest of them based on that initial input. Then, if you don't agree, you can make some more corrections, and iterate until everything's generally satisfactory.
Obviously false positives and negatives have far greater potential consequences here than with priority inbox, but the same general ideas can be applied. Also the social graphs of the the people on your friends list is a very rich source of data for the learning algorithms. Once you've placed two or three people from work into the 'collegues' circle the connections between those two or three examples and the other people you know from work will make it pretty simple to guess the rest of the work circle.
EDIT: and assuming that circle will start off by importing your google mail contacts, it already has a fair amount of implicit data about your social graph when it comes to those people due to your email activity with them, and their email activity between each other.
Thinking about it, the priority inbox stuff could well prove to be a very rich soruce of data for them generally in this circle endeavour.
Gmail integration wouldn't hurt either.
(I just tried to show a link to the "private groups" feature on Facebook, and that proved to be very frustrating. It took me a while of thrashing around with Facebook's help feature--after first trying Google, ahem--to find the main page about Facebook groups
to show those of you who haven't tried them before. The private groups posting interface differs in some weird ways from the usual posting interface on wall posts and private messages, as typing "Enter" instantly posts the message, and the only way to form paragraphs in text is to type Shift-Enter, which is especially confusing for Mac users.)
It will be interesting to make the comparison between a new Google offering and Facebook. Any product or service that offers social interaction has to help each user build a network among the user's friends. Buzz was a big fail that way, as most of my friends immediately decided not to use it, but perhaps something new from Google will be more successful. My friends are all smart enough to know how to bail out of the second-best network if something better than Facebook comes along.
Problem is I guess the average Facebook user doesn't even know about the capability. Google may come up with an easier to use UI for this, but Facebook can just improve their UI and give more weight to this feature in it.
Unless Google has a completely new model that Facebook finds incompatible to their model then this is just a 'feature'.
Seriously talking, it seems like you are underestimating the value of search to Microsoft.
Microsoft gets Office for example. It's never been entirely comfortable with the Internet, of which search is a part - it's how the company as an entity thinks. Search is baked into everything Google does, it's in their corporate DNA. But they think about social the way MS thinks about search.
When you have google execs making fun of social on the record from few years ago, it sounds a lot like Gates saying "The Internet? We are not interested in it".
No ones talking about value because value isn't static. At the end of the day, the good big cos realize they f'd up and what they were once making fun of does indeed have tremendous value.
Here's to hoping Google's social network has some solid federation features baked into it.
Tell me why I should use appleseed instead of using facebook.
And if you don't host your own, the competitive eco-system that's created by federation means you can move your profile between nodes, without losing access to your social network.
I would want to host my own webserver instead of using Geocities because hosting my own webserver means that I can write my website in whatever language I want, and that there is no limitation on what I can use it for (like DB restrictions, or domain restrictions).
What is "the competitive ecosystem that's created by federation"? What reason would I ever have for moving my profile between "nodes"? What is a "node"?
I'm not trying to be harsh, sorry if it sounds like I am. I believe I signed up for appleseed a while ago when you linked it here, but I couldn't figure out what was special about it.
And with Appleseed, you can run your own social networking site, theme it how you want, add third party features, build extensions, etc.
"the competitive ecosystem that's created by federation"?
Think of it like email. If you decide you don't want to be on gmail anymore, you move to hotmail or yahoo, or you set up your own server, and since SMTP is federated, you can still email all of your contacts, you're not walled off.
The same principle applies to Appleseed and distributed social networking.
(A "node" is just a social networking website that is compatible.)
The problem is that it's a volunteer open source project, not that it's difficult to use. Thus, it takes a lot longer time to maturation than it does when you have funding and full time employees.
However, despite being in beta, that we've built up around 200 Appleseed nodes (50 running the latest code), and the main beta test server has around 600 testers, it's not doing too shabby.
A good chunk of the test users are average users, they're friends and family that I've roped into testing for me. I've been using their feedback to improve the software.
I'm doing a lot of work on the UI/UX in order to "train" users for the conventions of distributed social networking. Obvious things like tutorials and FAQ's, videos and such, but also I'm working on a redesign to replace link text like "Remote Login" with "I have an account on an other site", so there are constant improvements being made in that area.
Is there one site people can go to like Facebook and signup?
For now, no, it's still being developed. There will be many sites, some catering to niche audiences, others more general. I've registered a number of domains for that purpose, and I expect others to use the software to do the same. A social networking site for cosplayers, black professionals, or green party activists, or even workplaces or schools which manage their own employee or student social networks.
This is the same problem I've seen with other open source projects (and even Linux). There are just too many choices and people don't know what site to use, so they just use something else.
Appleseed could work if it became a platform, like email, where ISPS give you a page (and anybody could host their own), and they are somehow all connected together, but that would probably take many years.
The goal is for most people to use Appleseed without ever knowing what Appleseed is, much in the way people use the web without realizing that their web server is Linux + Apache.
I don't understand. We can do that on Facebook already. In fact, I already do that... I have friend lists, and different people see different statuses depending on context.
I don't see the problem Google is trying to solve. I'd be happy to be enlightened though.
I also group people on Twitter into lists, in the hope that the lists will become useful someday.
Picasaweb.com is the same way.
I get your point, and it's not a bad one, generally speaking, but my gmail and picasaweb logins are automatic after I've logged in to any other google service -- I just cleared my entire browser history / passwords / cache etc., to make sure.
I actually hope this will inspire facebook to get it's act together.
Essentially, I would want it useful to me first and the social aspect as an addition. This can allow for slow take-off that would bypass some barriers to entry.
That said, trust issues: I still miss Wave (yeah, it is still running but for how long; also the Apache Wave in a Box project seems to be moving slowly). Just for PR value, I think that Wave should be supported in maintenance only mode.
For example, if friendships in this new system cannot exist in the data schema without being part of a group/circle, this would have profound effects on any ecosystem built on top of it, extending right up to the broader U[I|X] level.
You could compare this to how facebook built their whole success on the concept of activity feeds, which was arguably their killer feature over myspace. Myspace did have similar functionality, but it was tacked on in the way that groups are tacked on to facebook.
Hopefully google can kill facebook by building their offering with privacy groups right at the core, and layering everything else on top of that.
EDIT: I think what I'm trying to say is that privacy has massive potential to be a core feature/selling point in and of itself. It could also potentially form the foundation of a more successful social networking platform/ecosystem full stop.
I'll wager there's a significant overlap between FB and GMail users.
I'd love replies to this line of thought b/c it actually was a bit of a look in the mirror on some stuff I'm working on.
I am not sure if i want Google to be successful in social though, too much power in a single company...
Google has had a company wide task force of engineers since 2007 called the 'data liberation front.'
I think they have the muscle to take facebook's crown when it comes to the more personal, friends and family side of social networking. I also trust them to take my rights and my privacy seriously. A lot more seriously than facebook does at any rate.
Best case scenario: they nail the UX, and bring in a little of the awesomeness of wave while they're at it.
Good luck to them.
Does anyone know what time the even is meant to start?
I do wish that companies did not try and recreate myspace, facebook, etc. I would rather them build the next thing and allow the internet to catch up to the concept.
Internet identity is getting more important. The average user is now just getting a whiff of the value in having a your own web footprint and what that entails.
I want to see a social site with a mullet...business in the front, party in the back.
for example Novell as far as I am aware use a Google Wave like service still.
Downvotes.. interesting. What I mean is that I'm not sure what is going to make it 'major' within the near future. They tried converting the Gmail userbase once before.
FWIW, word on the ground says that Brin is personally involved with Google's new Social efforts. So 'major' is right - at least internally, Google's throwing the big guns at this one.
I've been waiting to see what a behemoth like Google comes up with when they've put a lot of muscle to a product they've never before approached.
Looking at the presentation by Paul Adams (The Real Life Social Network) I can only hope it's just as exciting!
I'm not a big user of Google services (but more now with Android), but seems like there are some cool possibilities with Google Voice and gmail...provided they get the privacy protection part right.
"Hey, I'll circle you. Don't worry."
Yes you can! So Circles is a possible contender to FB piece of the pie.
What ever it is, competition is always good.
Attempts with Buzz, Connect and Wave are examples where Google tried too hard but failed.
If they fail this time too, Google should stop spending huge budgets trying to built something internally and invest in new emerging disruptive startups that want to storm the social thing.