In another paragraph, the author lauds how Google+ doesn't clutter your mail inbox: Don't mess with the Gmail inbox. When Buzz invaded my Gmail inbox with a flood of social-networky conversations, my first instinct was "Turn it off!"
I guess the message is that if you sign up, Google+ won't annoy you, but it will give you the tools to annoy your friends so their product can be "viral."
(I'm not on Google+, so I don't speak from experience. That's just how it sounds to me.)
If something happens to you in a social network, you get an email about it. It's a must for any successful social network of any kind. If you don't have this feature, your social product is most likely going to fail. As a developer, you cannot be afraid to send these types of emails.
As long as you give the option to turn off email notifications from your friends or opt out of the service altogether by deleting the account, then all is well.
It's not about being viral, it's about user re-engagement. Facebook knows this, and that's why you get an email notification when any little action happens to you. This is what allows them to have 200m+ users logging in EVERY SINGLE DAY. I find it completely acceptable.
If you want to launch a social product without this feature, good luck not tanking.
It would be you spamming those people, not google or its service. You added them to the "distribution list" as it were.
Google+ is Facebook on steroids.
This point is brought up often, but I thought it worth reiterating here. One of the biggest differences between GMail and Wave was that even though GMail ended up being released (very) slowly to the public, you could interact with other email users without them needing to get on to GMail.
Unfortunately the same is not true with their current offering of Google+. I wonder if there is anyway for them to balance "extensive testing, and careful releases" with "getting a quorum so that the early adopters find it useful". Perhaps allowing them to interact with Facebook so that they can still interact with their friends from Google+ without needing everyone on it (along the lines of GMail).
There is a way, but they need to do more groundwork. Facebook started University by University. Even if it's only people at my University that can use Facebook, that's OK, because I have something in common with those people. I don't need everyone else in my life to be able to use it in order for it to be of value to me.
They need to find groups of people who have something in common.
This could be University's, companies, sporting associations, etc. Anything where there is a group of people who have a reason to communicate with each other and where it can reach a critical mass of usefulness relatively quickly.
Of course, it will require a little more hand holding, but it will give the product a greater chance of success.
Use Buzz and Wave as examples.
I have absolutely no interest in interacting with my friends and family using those services. None. My Mum wouldn't even know where to start with them. They require too much effort. Besides she's got Facebook and everyone else she knows does too.
However, I would have happily given Buzz and Wave a go through my companies Google Apps account with the rest of the guys at my company. We try new services as a team all the time to see if we can find something that will help us in some way. BUT, these services were not available to me through my Google Apps account. Only through my Gmail account. Which is a bit of a PITA since -- at the time -- you could not be logged into both Google Apps and Gmail at the same time. So it was a non-starter.
My point? Facebook started small with University's. Students who had something in common. Google should probably start with businesses. Work colleagues who have something in common. Roll it out to one Google Apps account at a time. Hold their hand. Gain traction -- then with a solid base, spread your wings and jump.
It may not be the best approach but it would help bring people into the system with something in common.
(That is: select evangelists from the "keep me posted" list, invite them first, and let 'em do their work.)
I think it's much better for new users to come in slowly and find an already active service than for everyone to join at once, use it for a day and then leave.
There's no way facebook would play along with that.
But they should have at least one more level of private-mode before they go public. They need to make sure the early adopter community is tight first, kind of like Quora did. Imagine what would've happened if Quora went public from like day one. It would've basically killed the product. Or what if everyone knew about HN from day one? Facebook, too, was once only for college students. The early community needs to be very strong before it gets diluted by the masses.
The early adopters help shape the product before the "unwashed masses" join it, and I think they should give enough time to early adopters to get used to it, get to love it and have enough time to tell everyone how cool it is and how much they love it before they can actually invite everyone else and make it public.
You get one shot where each user will try your product, and decide to stick with it a while, or write it off.
If I get a Google+ account, if my friends aren't on it after a few days, then I think its crap because its got no content, and I go back to facebook. When my friend of now tries Google+, I'm not there to talk to; and the launch fails.
Its great to seed your product launch with influential early adopters.
But these early adopters don't form a sufficiently dense social network to make the product worthwhile, on their own.
The adoption of a social product spreads like an epidemic. The frontier is either pushing out through the network, or its dying out.
I believe they should have stayed completely silent with Google+ until they were ready to throw it open to everyone.
A small company like Facebook was can launch a product in niche areas, and grow it out, building hype slowly.
Google cannot do that, because everyone knows who they are, and cares about what they do next - I think, for them, launching a network effect product (e.g. not gmail, as while e-mail depends on network effects, g-mail doesnt) has to be all or nothing.
They need to open it ASAP, to capitalise on the coverage they are now getting, and get dense enough social graphs for the service to persist.
I'm honestly not sure how you do successfully gain traction in something with this much level of (unavoidable) publicity. One thought I had was that something like video chat might attract people just to use that, and then perhaps organically discover other features that make them spend more time there.
I've seen it implied that no invites are planned until after the "field test", and who knows how long that period might be.
Using the right buzzword doesn't mean anything. And 'field testing' doesn't imply more users than 'limited preview'. In fact, I would have said it meant less, by my gut feeling. It probably doesn't have any relation at all in their minds.
For the rest of it, I think I can summarize with:
Keep it simple, while still implementing all the features necessary for social networks, especially Notifications and mobile access.
The only non-obvious thing is the feedback mechanism, which is apparently pretty rich.
I still say that it doesn't matter how nice a social network is if my friends aren't also on it. And if you let me in but make me wait too long for my friends, you'll lose us all 1 at a time, which is the same result as never having us in the first place.
So, I can invite a popular friend and give him 10 invites, and I can invite my other friend and give him 1 invite.
Even giving everyone 1 invite every day would be better.
No, no, no. This is the problem I have with Diaspora. They gave me 5 invites. I used my first since I got mine as part of an invite chain. I have no clue how to best utilise the other four so as to maximise the usefulness of Diaspora (i.e. grow my own social network maximally). End result, I haven't used any of my other 4 invites due to analysis paralysis and my social network is basically dead.
Google+ seems to be off to a pretty good start so far. I'm not exactly sure how the invite structure works, but somehow a significant portion of my social network seems to already be involved. I'm assuming this just means I know a lot of connected people (most of my network is from college and we all know people who do or have worked at Google), but it means that, even within the first 24 hours, activity has been pretty decent.
Iv'e been hoping they would stop thinking of themselves as many different products and start viewing themselves as users do: just one Google. Each product is really just a feature. Facebook does this right and I hope Google does too.
2. Does it have a real time communication tool, such as Gtalk, or maybe another chat program that works across the entire network like Facebook chat. I think IM features are important for a social network, too. If it does, how does it work? Does a different chat appear in each Circle? Or do I see all at once? I'm not sure I'd like to see all at once. It's acceptable in the beginning, but what if you have 10 groups of ~20 people each? I think I'd prefer to just go into each Circle when I want to talk to that group, rather than see them all at once, and having them all see me when I'm online.
2 - Sort of. Through the "Huddle" functionality on the mobile client, you can do real-time group chats. But that might not be what you're referring to.
I didn't see it this way - I have more than one gmail address and after downloading the app it prompted me to associate Google+ with the account that didn't have Google+! There is no option to associate it with any other email address so it's completely unusable to me.
I still miss Wave. I was not 100% enthusiastic about Wave's UI, but writing robots for Wave was fun and I was looking at it as being a good platform to write for.
Google+ does not look like a platform for 3rd party developers.
I will love Google+ when and if all my friends show up and
(I hope this doesn't come across as overly hostile. I don't mean it as an attack. I'm just explaining my guess since I hate mystery downvotes.)
If someone produces a good product, and they have generally pleasant business practices (and don't have glaringly bad ones, too), why does it matter if it is a large company or a small one?
Where exactly is the walmart/microsoft likeness?
As for Microsoft, they were the dominant conglomerate of yesteryear. Today it's Google. Both companies wield different powers, and both have been abusing them in different ways.
Google embraces "free" while both Microsoft and Wal*Mart do not.
What does embracing “free” mean? Does it mean anything? It sounds like meaningless drivel.
2) Free as in liberated data; they make a big deal that it is trivial to import or export your data out of any of their services. If you are looking at your contacts in GMail it's as simple as More Actions > Export Contacts. Compare that with exporting contacts from Facebook. They have a whole "data liberation" API that they have been pushing for that is far more open than any other major player in the tech industry.