Thursday, November 3, 2011

What The Hell Is Google+?

It says something when tech-savvy folks are wondering, months after its launch, just what Google+ is supposed to be.

This has more to do with the way Google has been releasing the service than it does with users interpretation. Google has slowly been expanding the Google+ service; adding features, connecting it to other products and essentially expanding its reach across the entire landscape of Google services.

Interest in Google+ has certainly waned. it's not quite as hot as it was and people are gradually beginning to notice if they want to connect with the majority of their friends, Facebook is still the best option. This might change as time goes on and Google+ expands. It might change as soon as they add pages for businesses; it might change as they continue to improve the existing social aspect of their service.

Or it might not change at all if they simply make it a better way to integrate all the existing Google services under one umbrella. Gmail has been around for a decade, but I don't use it. I don't like Google Docs, either. I have a Google Voice number, but I don't use it. I have a Google+ account, but I haven't used it much either. I don't think I will use it more if they interconnect it with other Google services simply because I don't use that many of their other products.

All of which leads me to wonder: Who else is in the same boat as me? Leave me a comment.

Bradley Horowitz sits, in an office on the Google campus in Mountain View, the vista isn’t nearly so dire.

“I don’t blame the pundits,” he says, “they’re not privy to our long-term strategies.”

The comment may seem snide or passive-aggressive; it’s also true to some extent. To understand Google’s plans for Plus, Horowitz says, you need to listen less and watch more.

“Six months from now, it will become increasingly apparent what we’re doing with Google+,” he says with a measure of opacity. “It will be revealed less in what we say and more in the product launches we reveal week by week.”

Over the past couple of weeks, we have, in fact, been seeing Google+’s social features creep into other Google web products, including Reader and Blogger.

We were clued into the real scope of Google’s plans by Louis Gray, a relatively new employee of the company who is a product marketing manager for Google+. A few weeks ago, Gray gave us a glimpse at the long view: Plus isn’t a social network; it’s Google’s new way of getting you to use all its web products.

Now, Horowitz confirms that conception. As I explain to him the vision that Gray explained earlier to me, he says, “Directionally, the world you’re describing is the world we aspire to. And it will be much better than the current state for our users.”

Click here to read more about the Google+ long term plan.

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