Tags: experience design, futures, general thoughts, interaction design, Too Interesting!
Maybe I’m just a little overly inspired by @lukegwilliams. Maybe it is that I’m just an annoying troll. Maybe I just don’t get it and it seems that peers of mine feel the same (many of my peers don’t feel the same).
What am I talking about? I’m talking about the release of Google’s new social media platform they have called Google+ at http://plus.google.com/. Invites are going out all the time and are so popular that they are being delayed. Within my world, rightfully so, when Google talks, people are listening and trying. Ya gotta.
So what have been so darn negative about anyway?
Well, google is an amazing organization. I live on many of their tools. I don’t always agree with their engineering-centric perspective, but you can’t argue (all the time) with the amazing results. Their search engine is still the only one I use. I’m using their web browser right now, though I must admit I’m leaning towards going back to Firefox as that is what I have to use for work (not their fault per se, just reality). I live on Gmail, Reeder, and Google Maps and for the most part Google Docs is a huge part of my life. Oh! and Google Calendar is the one app that I’ve gotten my wife to use.
Maybe it is because they are a love child of mine that I’m so darn upset. I jumped on the bandwagon oh so many years ago with Orkut. But that turned out to be just a glorified discussion board. I tried with Google Groups and again, nothing useful there. Then more recently I tried with Google Buzz and Google Wave. BAM! if I didn’t get shot in the eyes by both of those. And it isn’t like I didn’t try w/ Wave. I have a Wave that was opened as recently as March 2011. That’s perseverance when they themselves said they were going to shut it down. So I am no Google hater. I will fess up and say that I’m not a big fan of Android and I after a lot of time w/ GoogleTV I threw my hands up in the air.
So Google+ …
People have been touting 2 things about the service: a) the new overal skin of many Google products. This is subjective but I’m not feeling any love here. b) that Google has made a social network worth leaving Facebook for.
This last point for me is beyond ridiculous. I don’t care how well you can organize your connections. I don’t. Really, I don’t. There is nothing here compelling enough to get people to move over. i.e. people didn’t leave iPhone to Android b/c of Android. They left b/c of AT&T. This has been demonstrated by the fact that Android sales have been plateauing in the US now that Verizon now has the iPhone. Now there are good reasons to go to Android. Just not GREAT reasons and most of the reasons to go to Android have nothing to do with Android’s design or feature set: except openness which is arguable. It has more to do with manufacturer options (as in variety) and in service providers (more variety).
The same thing is here except there is only 1 internet and Google+ hasn’t even hit the minimal mark of making all what is possible with its competition even feasible in its own volley. This in my mind means they are not even in the game.
A friend of mine called me out and said I was harshin’ on a “beta”. Really? beta? Look! I was there on the day the first beta of Netscape was released to the public. When beta meant early adopter release. This is not a beta. This is a release. Too much fanfare, too many regular joes using it, and too much hard work done already to not call it a release. It’s a release to the public product that will impune or raise your organization as much as in your history the beta of Gmail ever did.
My big outcry to Google is where is the disruption. When you came out w/ Search there was nothing like it before. Alta Vista couldn’t breath in your presence. When Gmail came out there was nothing like it before. Yahoo and Hotmail couldn’t move for years afterwards. When Google maps came out the same thing. When Google Docs came out again the same. Android, TV and now + are not disruptive. The latter is not going to have anyone playing catch up for 2 years and this more than anything else is what depresses me so. If Google after 3-4 attempts at this market space STILL cannot find the golden needle while organizations like Instagram and Foursquare took on the charge so much earlier with their own successes of disruption, I feel I have a right to be a bit ultra-critical.
I am ultra-critical out of love. Out of hope and out of expectations for better.
Please Google, Disrupt me!