I’ve been playing around with Google+ the last few days and I’m impressed. Since this was so new, and limited to only people with invites, I was expecting a service that was a little rough around the edges. What I found was a very polished service with a lot of potential.
What I Like
Circles seem to be a great way to control who sees information. Instead of everything being public, you control who can see each post, photo, or comment. By creating circles, you can create groups of friends and then share just with that group. Facebook used to emphasize friend lists, but they quit promoting that feature and tried to move everyone into groups. The circles in Google+ work much better. In Twitter, I have created multiple lists to break down those I follow into groups, but everyone can still see every tweet I post.
Hangouts are going to be big. You can create group video chats easily with anyone in your circles. You can limit the chats to different circles and it really works great. I can see this working great for virtual meetings and virtual Bible Studies. Everyone is shown as a small video thumbnail across the bottom of the screen and whoever is talking gets pushed up into a larger video on the screen. Text chat is also available and you can even share youtube videos. It’s easy and it just works.
What I Don’t Like
This is still an invite only service. To really be useful, you need the people you interact with on a regular basis to all be on the service. The invite process didn’t work so well for Google Wave, so this scares me a little. I’m afraid people will get tired of waiting and just decide to stay firmly in Facebook. I’m also not sure how to use this along with Facebook and Twitter. It will take time for more people to get on Google+. Right now, it looks promising, but it will still be a while before it really becomes useful.
What are your thoughts about it? Will you be joining and trying it out?
Here are some videos that show more about the service.