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The fact that dozens of comments think 90 days is too long for a service to be invite only shows we are really in a instant gratification news bubble here. 90 days! People act like we are talking about Chinese Democracy or Duke Nukem Forever here (not to mention that for about 80 of those days getting in was merely a five minute search process for anyone who really cared).

The majority of comments here are about too long of an invite window, nymwars, and Google Apps. While I appreciate those are important issues for people, acting like they are going to kill Google+ is extremely shortsighted and uninteresting. They are about as much of a factor in Google+'s success as the quality of the concession stands at Fenway to the Red Sox's success.

You can't simultaneously have an invite system and a huge marketing push. It's like pretending that you are classy and telling a lot of people that they are not part of the crowd you consider good enough to make it through the front door.

You have one chance to launch a service like this for a large audience. If you want to do an invite only private beta to get the kinks out then you would probably have to do that under a different name. Once you associate the google brand with it people expect it to work and expect it to work at scale.

Anything less is blowing your first impression. 90 days to wait to try a new service? People are simply not going to wait that long, they might have tried it in the first week but three months is a relatively long period to feel left out, that's a negative first impression. It takes a lot of work to undo a negative first impression.

As for google+ not going to be killed, they did it to wave and plenty of other products that did not attract enough users to be good enough for google, why would google+ be different, especially with a purposefully slowed down launch like this? That only increases the chance.

> You can't simultaneously have an invite system > and a huge marketing push.

I don't think Google has done a huge marketing push, yet, considering how big a product this is for them.

They've done little press and haven't bought advertising online or in the real world - something they did for Chrome. They've so far done pretty much the minimum a company of such scale could do for a product this big. It was inevitable that a lot of people would want to join as soon as they heard of Google's plans.

I have a feeling that the marketing push is very much still to come.

> I have a feeling that the marketing push is very much still to come.

sign out of google services and go to google.com If everyone gets that little arrow, that's a pretty big marketing push...

Which happened on the same day they are dropping invite-only, correct?

> You can't simultaneously have an invite system and a huge marketing push.

What huge marketing push? All Google did was post a blog about it and send out some invites.

I never signed up for +1, yet I saw +1 buttons next to all my search results. While not a TV or radio ad blitz, that is a form of marketing.

+1 isn't the same as Google+

+1 is a social recommendation and bookmarking service integrated into 3rd party websites and Google's search. It is orthogonal to Google+ (although both Google+ and +1 use the same social graph).

I guess I'm suffering from internet burnout, but I wasn't paying attention to the differentiation between Google+ and Google's +1. If they're not related then that's a really poor naming strategy.

I guess it is everybody else's fault but yours?

I think they are deliberately meant to be similar.

Mea culpa, Obi Wan.

A couple of levels up I mistakenly thought that the +1 buttons next to my search results were an early buzz effort for Google+. I thought "recommend this page" implied "recommend this page to my friends on Google+". I made that mistake because of the name similarity and the timing of release. If a marketer introduces an ambiguity, I don't think it's the responsibility of the target to disambiguate the message.

Whether on purpose or not, it's all very confusing: Google+, +1, Buzz, I still don't know which of those is supposed to do what and which of them is here to stay for the long term.

I was desperately looking for a way to add posts to my Google+ stream (like a tumble blog) from Firefox and I kept getting ways to +1 stuff, which does end up in Google +1, but hidden away and, grotesquely, with no way to even promote it to a full post.

And then there's these odd news feed like topics you can subscribe to in Plus -- which I guess might work if you're interested in sports or whatever, but I just keep wishing I could use it as a link to the similar-but-different Reader. Incidentally, what happens if you star something in Reader, does it +1 it, Buzz it, or is that another way of socially promoting it?

Don't forget Orkut(google owned) and Google Social Network (not 100% sure of the name) which is tightly integrated with blogger.

On a side, yet related, note: did anyone had a google email account in the late 90s? Long before gmail, google had an email service, it was by far the worst email service I've used, full of bugs, many long downtimes and countless other issues.

The truth hardly matters if users see it differently.

Yes, that's true - and I think in this case Google benefits from that.

If web users associate the +1 buttons with Google+ then it is free advertising for Google+.

Yes tech blogs went nuts over it, but I don't remember seeing any actual organized Google marketing push on it. If that were to happen, Google would likely be targeting people outside of the tech community.

Those ninety days felt like forever, and it's because they kept opening and closing the invite windows seemingly at random. There were a lot of false starts and stops -- confusing the users on the inside, and frustrating the users on the outside.

On any given week, for instance, the floodgates would appear to be randomly open or randomly closed, and I'd send out a small trickle of invites while I could. I would have little indication of when the gates opened and closed, so eventually, I just stopped bothering trying to invite people.

Needless to say, this did not make for a robust graph. Sure, I had my "inner" circles up and running just fine. But whenever I wanted to broadcast something -- in the true sense of that word -- I'd have to go back to Facebook for the bigger friend set.

At the end of the day, you can't toy with people on the inside or outside of a product like this. Users on the inside want their friends inside. And users on the outside want in, to be with their friends. The seemingly capricious, chaotic, and extended open/closed period really caused an inordinate amount of frustration for both groups. Social networking is about one's social network, and when people already had extant social networks, they were extremely anxious to port those networks over.

[Bear in mind that I remain a loyal G+ user and really do believe it's a great product. I just think the extended beta was a bit too extended, and bit too schizophrenic in its betaness.]

If it's true that the widespread HN resentment over Google Apps[1] and other issues is overblown, then you must consider that the widespread HN excitement over Circles and privacy features is irrelevant. Regular users don't care.

[1] And you can count me as another victim, here. I'm frankly dumbfounded that they'd keep thumbing their noses at the users over this, and I can't believe they either 1) still didn't understand that this would be the first thing folks commented on or 2) don't think it's important. To me it just smacks of unprofessionalism.

I think people are convinced that services must blow up immediately to be relevant. They forget that even Facebook took time to grow. I remember when it first opened to people outside of colleges and I was an early adopter, there were literally maybe only 30 people on Facebook I knew. I think Google+ is going to be a success and the reason for that is because of the integration with other Google services, as the platform matures people are going to find little reason to stick with Facebook or other services when G+ will have all their friends plus integration into all the Google services.

Facebook did blow up in select circles though right from the get-go. When it hit college campuses it spread like wildfire as there were no restrictions to entering and you could have all your close, daily contacts together in one place instantly. Google+ let me and 5 other friends in but prevented me from inviting others and now it's basically dead with the last post between any of us over a month old.

The overall number of users in the system isn't something important, it's how many users I know. A network with 10,000 users at Harvard will spread out much faster than one with 10m dotted around the US as it represents a contiguous userbase that is a solid foundation for social interaction.

i think you hit the button. there are a large group of people who are only aware of G+ in the periphery. But as people migrate to G+ and android phones become more prevalent, people will go with "integrated ease" it def has enough features so far to pique the layman's interest. not to mention as lil kids get on the internet do they want to be on their "parent's social site" or go to the hip new one?

Whether or not 90 days is an excessive amount of time for a service to be invite-only depends greatly on the nature of the service. For a social network any amount of time spent in invite-only mode is a huge problem because the value of the service is directly proportional to both the willingness and the ability of your social contacts to also join the service.

On Google+ I've got 100+ people who have me in circles, but they are all hardcore geek early adopter net-fiends like myself. Very little of my real friends and family social circle is on Google+... many were interested when I explained it but have since lost interest due to their initial inability to join when the service was the hot new thing.

On Google+ I've got 100+ people who have me in circles, but they are all hardcore geek early adopter net-fiends like myself. Very little of my real friends and family social circle is on Google+... many were interested when I explained it but have since lost interest due to their initial inability to join when the service was the hot new thing.

This was exactly my experience with Google+.

I think you're right, the invite window doesn't matter, but like the first 100 days of a presidency, it's a solid enough chunk of time to think about what Google+ has accomplished, and I would argue that the answer is "not much."

The invite window won't kill G+, but apathy will. About a fifth of my Facebook friends are on it, but only 3 out of a hundred post anything. A successful competitor would need to stand for something other than "well, it's not Facebook."

It may find a niche as a long-form twitter (which is something I can't believe Facebook waited so long to do) but the initial excitement has run its course.

Just FWIW, I used Google+ for 2 weeks or so. Then I got bored and went back to Facebook. I think 90 days is certainly enough time to lose any early momentum you had.

Same with me.

Except for going back to Facebook. :) I got bored with that after about 2 weeks, too.

Exactly the same here. Still check it infrequently but all I see is tumbleweed.

I agree. What do you think are the important issues? Mine are:

- APIs (looks like there's significant progress)

- Open-source/open standards/federation (nothing yet)

(I think the second one would really sort of take care of the nymwars and the Google Apps issues, too.)

I've got a ton of feature requests, but those two are what I would consider serious/disruptive.

Regarding the first (APIs), yes, we recently launched several Google+ Platform features, such as phase one of the Google+ API last week and today's announcement of the Google+ Hangouts API. Visit http://developers.google.com/+ to get started.

Regarding the second ("open"), we're taking our usual approach, building on open protocols wherever we can, and creating them when we have to. In this case, Activity Streams and Portable Contacts, with no doubt more to come as we launch new platform features.

As far as federation goes, love it, though one step at a time of course. Let's get the product itself off the ground and stable (today's open signups is a big step toward that) and we'll see what people want to do with it as a platform.

Thanks, Joe! The feedback is always appreciated.

Thanks, Dewitt! I love what you guys are doing, and I'm glad to hear some acknowledgement of an open and federated future for G+. I'm happy to be patient, but I was a bit worried since the launch seemed distinctly different in approach from Buzz and Wave. But I think nailing down the user experience first is probably a good idea.

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