03 July 2011

My Google+ predictions

If you are oblivious about what is Google+, please stop right here and watch this. All the rest of you that are not my mother may keep reading.

Like the comic above, that is how most people are seeing Google+.

I don't. 

Disclaimer: I am a Google groupie (but I don't particularly hate Facebook, I find it a great tool).

But my prediction about Google+ is that it will win the hearts of the people who have less time for randomness and are more interested in filtering the never ending "I am eating an apple" and "Wow, big poop today". It will become the main tool for meaningful online social interaction.

Why? Good that you asked:

There are 2 key features that distinguish it from Facebook: Circles and Hangout.


Sometimes I want to share something that everyone might be interested, so I can include all those in the communication. But sometimes I might be feeling down or I got a job offer and I want only to tell my close friends, not everyone. Or, even better, I want to share something only with the people that live in Chennai or only those friends that speak Portuguese. Each of those can be a circle (and a person can be in more circles, for example, I have a circle with my Big Bang team and all of them are also in the circle "close friends", which includes other people also.

How this changes the game: circles will make the smart people think about target audience before they post something. This will reduce the amount of random information one gets, which will lead to more meaningful interaction.

I was going to share the trailer of a documentary about the making of indie games. Typically on Facebook & Twitter I would just share. In Google+ I thought "hmmm, that really does appeal to only part of my friends, the geek ones, I will make a circle and only share it with them". All the rest of my friends that does not have interest for my geeky stuff will just stay oblivious. I am not interrupting them.

The challenge: for this to happen, people have to be disciplined enough to a) create relevant circles (which demands a bit of time in the beginning) and b) don't act as complete idiots and think about "who would be interested in that post?" Since in the beginning only the tech-savvy will be joining, there is a good possibility it will happen, but once my mom and the rest of the family come (if they will), then I am not sure.


Do you have those times where you are really not doing anything and just want to chat with someone randomly? Well, hangout is for you then. You just press a button saying you are starting a hangout and you are moved to a virtual room with video chat and people can come to chat with you. 

"Oh, this is not new! It is Chatroulette! It has only perverts chatting with strangers!" will scream the troll.

No, no, my dear troll friend, the catch of the hangout is simple: only the people in specific circles of your choice may join the hangout. I am a almost 30 year old guy, when I was young there was no web or even mobile phones (yes, there was a time those didn't exist!), how did we meet our friends? We used to HANGOUT in the same place and time, so the people from that group would join eventually. Like the cafe where the people from Friends used to go.

How this changes the game: I want to talk, but I am not available to everyone, I am available to only a few friends. It also removes the barrier to "schedule a chat" or anything like this in Skype. You just start hanging out and a friend will join to chat. It just blew my mind - and I didn't even talk about the extra spicy stuff, like this room can have up to 10 people using video chat, you can share Youtube videos that you all see at the same time, etc.

The challenge: without critical mass (a lot of people using Google+), this is still only a gimmick.

Google+, you will put fear in Facebook, Twitter and Skype. I want you to win.


  1. I agree with your predictions somehow - I want to see though how will it influence the usage of Facebook, which ruined Hi5 so Google+ might just as well ruin Facebook.
    In any case, one comment to the circles idea: this is very much possible on facebook. The only difference is that on G+ is much more easier to use - reminds me of the friendly Prezi interface. Basically you Facebook groups are now your Google+ circles.
    As for "the fear", I already see the people I am following on twitter either excited or angry about Google+. Which just means it's working. As for skype, Google + is not yet fulfilling the interesting skype features, so I doubt it. Yet.

  2. Hey Alex!

    Yes, Facebook friends list is exactly that, but FB design is not CENTERED around those lists, so it does not work. The architecture of G+ is centered on circles, it just cannot exist without the circles (while FB exists pretty well without any friends list)

    Skype business model is based on Freemium (give good stuff for free, but the better ones are paid - such as calling a real number and GROUP video chat). Google can do BOTH for free:

    - Google voice does call real numbers for free in the US and for a fee in case of int' numbers (in the US only, but might extend...)

    - Google Hangout have up to 10 people in a video conference for FREE (and I noticed it worked better than the skype one)

    That is why Skype should also fear, especially if G+ will be seamless integrated with Gtalk and Gvoice.


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