Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Newfangled whosawhatsis

What is Google+? A friend from college sent me (unsolicited, but I don't mind) an invite at just the right procrastinatory moment, so I said fine, my identity can be linked with my Picasa account, which I'd assumed was already the case. Now I have a list of acquaintances (an official category now!), former students, profs, and poodle-search-related contacts that's the stuff of a bizarre dream. I also have a whopping six mutually-acknowledged contacts, making me less popular than on Facebook or Twitter. It's only been a few hours, but still. And, I don't get how it works, having myself, in turn, accidentally invited a friend (hi, Grace!) who now that I think of it probably doesn't even want to be on this, thinking she already was. Harrumph, I believe, is the word.


Jeff said...

It also has a "Following" relationship, which is a nice way of saying "lurking" or "stalking".

But yes it kinda seems to add friends without verification, unlike Facebook. Perhaps Google decides if you've emailed someone enough times, you must be buddies.

Jeff said...

though, when it automatically confirms a "friend", I don't think it puts them into any circles or gives them any sort of privilege. And has the google+ punditry has noted, these relationships are less like "friendships" and more like various publishing permission levels.

I'll stop talking, clearly I don't know of what I speak

Miss Self-Important said...

I had the same experience yesterday. I still don't get it, and feel like an old person looking for the "on" button. When did I manage to fall so behind?

Phoebe said...


Still confused. How is this not like Twitter? Isn't the benefit of having everything in one place cancelled out by it being one tiny difference in where you click between adding someone already on the thing and hiding them?


This makes me feel better. Maybe it's just poorly-designed.

Aaron said...

I'm glad you didn't mind the unsolicited invite. The way I see it, twitter users are already sufficiently self-selected to assume that anyone on there would be curious about something new. The meaningful distinctions from Facebook are (1) the unilateral sharing model (like twitter) that allows people to follow you without requiring you to follow them back, (2) really finely grained and obvious privacy controls built around your "circles" of friends or public sharing, so that you know precisely who you're sharing what with, and (3) tight integration with Google services like Picasa, Blogger (it's supposedly coming, and of particular interest to you, I imagine), youtube, etc. There's more, but that's the basics.
It's unlike twitter in that that conversations around a post are much more obvious than in twitter (which has a fairly steep learning curve), though it lacks a lot of the cool, spontaneous grouping and sorting you see on Twitter around things like hashtags, though that seems likely to come down the road. The macro point is that nobody is added without your say so - adding themselves only allows them to see your public content (like twitter), but it's much, much easier to push content to a limited group of people (unlike twitter, where privacy is basically a monolithic "on/off").

Phoebe said...


Thanks, then, for the invite and the explanation. (I specified unsolicited because, had it been solicited, that might imply that I knew what it was!)

I see how this could work, in theory, but so far, what I've seen is a) as with "Buzz," a list of all these random people I don't necessarily need to be reminded of, of whom a tiny percentage are friends, an only slightly greater one "friends" in the social-networking sense, and b) no sense of what's motivating me, or anyone else for that matter, to link up with which people. Maybe once it's clearer what the forum itself is, it will be clearer whom to add and in what way.