Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google Plus! hype or the future??


After the terrible failure of Google wave, Google Buzz and loosing all the Orkut users to Facebook, Google has come out with yet another social networking solution called the Google Plus! As the end user, one would as to himself "should I join Google plus when I am happily connected to all my friends on Facebook?" Well it would be too early to answer the question but for now lets have a look at what Google has to offer.

   As expected, Google played the game of invites again and let users send limited invites to their friends so that they can check out Google and there be a race to join the new service just the way it was with Gmail and Google wave. But this time they totally failed at this! Well, In case any of your friends having a plus account  shares some content with you, you get an email notification for the same and before you know it, you have a Plus account! That was a big security loophole which brought Google's strategy on its knees. Within just one day, I have most of my friends connected to me on Google Plus! Nailed it totally!

  Next is the usability for which we all are Facebook addicts.Well, the interface looks pretty neat and the updates and comments are more like Facebook, although it would have been better of the font size was smaller to fit in more content and the size of the photos I see in the updates is nothing less than HUGE! With all the rich functionalists of the application, it was expected to have a sluggish response to the user actions but Google has done a great job at this.The site is very responsive and runs smooth on Chrome and Firefox.

  What will attract the users would be the accessibility. Almost all the Google services now have a notification icon on the top right corner which shows the updates from Google Plus, more like the the notifications of Faceook but a lot more organized.With this, the user need not to have a G+ page open all the time to get updates as is the case with Facebook. I wonder if this will make blocking the website at school, colleges and workplace more difficult.

 Privacy seems to be a major concern after all the mess created on Facebook by the  spamming applications. There are no application on Google Plus as of now because the API has not yet been exposed to the developers, so for now that dimension can be looked over. One major flaw that I found with privacy was with the content such as photographs and videos. It fetched all my photographs from Picasa and shared it publicly so that my friends can further share them,so before joining , do make your Picasa albums and buzz content private. Also it enables edit a post after posting and receiving comments on it,I can already imagine scenarios where this can be misused making it another security flaw.

 My final verdict would be that Google has done a good job this time, but they look to be in a hurry!The application should have been tested properly and the launch delayed.Also before making a complete switch, I I would also look forward to "something awesome" that Facebook is about to launch in few days(ref http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/30/us-facebook-idUSTRE75T55S20110630) which I assume is the much awaited video calling feature!