I finally got around to setting up my G+ account and I really like it. I have hardly used Facebook because of privacy concerns. My sense of FB is that they view privacy more as a necessary evil they need to deal with rather than something that they fundamentally respect (hell, if the movie is to be believed, the eureka moment was understanding that everyone in college wanted to know “who is sleeping with who”!). History has shown time and time again that some of these early behaviors permeate the organization in a way that is impossible to change along the way. No matter how much “privacy control” FB tries to put in today, they don’t have my trust that they will respect it.
Which is why I was looking forward to G+ and I am glad to say that they have lived up to the promise. Google has a much better (but imperfect) record of trying to do the right thing for the user and I am willing to give them much more of a benefit of doubt.
Like LinkedIn in the early days
My first impression of G+ is that it is like LinkedIn in the early days; it is cumbersome to set up: build circles, send invites, wait for people to come around etc etc. LinkedIn for the longest time was an afterthought. But after having put in the effort over the years, today LinkedIn has become extremely useful. I see that happening over time with G+. I have created my private and public circles, I have for the first time posted pictures of my kids for friends and family to view, I have shared a few links with a professional circle, commented on a few posts etc. I can see this becoming a very important tool over the next 2-3 years. But it will be a slow ramp up and I am dismissive of any talks that point towards (lack of) present usage as an indication of its failure. It will take time and I am hoping that it will emerge as something very useful.
Having said all this, I do believe that for a lot of users FB will be the go-to social destination. Just as for search Google has become a verb, Facebook has become the verb for social. And it is not going to be easy to de-throne it.
But competition is good, choices are good and my vote is definitely for G+. Google: Please don’t let me down!