Having spent a little bit of time using the Google+ Project I thought I would share some initial thoughts and reactions.
From the very beginning it is all about people, as always with these new network tools it is about adding people into your space to enjoy and share it with. I was immediately impressed with the Circles feature which helps you organise people into different groups. The user interface is really nice and it was easy to grab people and drop them into the right Circle for them.
You can create lots of different circles and name them whatever you like. Once you are using and sharing if there is someone who either adds you to their Circle or you see their name mentioned, all you have to do is roll over their name, then the Circles icon and then tick which they belong to in the pop up window – really easy.
Within Google Apps for Edu I can see each class having a specific Circle with which you can share content.
As many people have said, this level of organisation is much more like real life as we have distinct and sometimes overlapping connections with people. What is currently missing seems to be (amongst other things):
- to share a whole Circle with others
- to add inner circles to a group – say for groups within a class
- build on other social media groups, LinkedIn or Twitter lists
This compartmentalised approach to our social networking behaviour is very much at the core of what the Google+ Project seem to be developing. When you look to share any type of content you can be very refined about who you share it with. As Vincent Mo from Google explains:
On Google+, anyone can add me to their circles, and they never see more than what I share with them. It’s as easy as not adding them to a circle. That means people can add me all they want. If I post something private, I’ll only post it to a circle, and they won’t see it. Go ahead. Add me. I don’t care.
So the focus is on the creation of Circles of connections which then allows you to dictate who you share content with. Vincent Mo says that Google+ is “built around targeted sharing”. Seems obvious – and Google have executed these crucial elements really well.
Even if you have not had the chance to use Google+ I would be interested to hear your thoughts regarding the Circles style of organisation and how it differs to what we are used to.
Pic: Flickr’ng lights by josef.stuefer