Google+ First Impressions

It’s just started, and it’s silly to make extreme predictions, so I’ll keep this brief. Here’s the good and the bad of Google+ from what I’ve seen so far:

  • Good: Circles. Building the whole system around “circles” of friends is an idea that has been waiting for a good implementation. This could be huge. Within my company we’ve found that sharing issues have been a big problem with Facebook, where private videos or photos have a way of getting shared.
  • Bad: Cold, geeky interface. The basic interface of Google is great because it gets out of the way when you’re looking for stuff. Ditto for GMail: when you’re doing email, you want the words to be the focus. And if you really need it, you can theme GMail and get distracted by whatever pretty pictures you want. But Facebook has done a better job of making the interface look friendly. Google+ is dominated by whitespace and lightly decorated with cool colours, whereas Facebook has a comforting blue that holds things together better. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see how people react to the way “circles” operate like mathematical sets. The overall feel of Google+ is very geeky, which is great for early adopters but might be less interesting for people who don’t have engineering degrees or do math for fun.