History Breaking: Google Made a Social Thingie That ROCKS

This post at Wired is cracking me up, because I said something similar on Facebook early yesterday evening.  In fact, I said:

It doesn’t really matter, Google+, because the only reason I’m still on Facebook is everybody else is, too. And said everybody is not going to migrate to a platform I like better because it *doesn’t* have Farmville on it, in part, anyway.

I guess Buzz is now pretty much dead, and people are fleeing that for Namesake, which I checked out this week and…it’s okay. But my mom and kids and girlfriend and everybody I went to high school with aren’t going to sign up, so it’s yet another space to talk to other big geeks in, for me.

And then a couple hours later, I got a Google+ invite in the mail. Out of the blue – unlike Duncan Geere, I wasn’t looking around for one yesterday.

And then I logged in and started setting things up, and…there’s the first thing I love about Google+ : it’s so easy. As a longtime UI designer, myself, I loathe the term “intuitive” and…you know, nothing but the nipple, etc.  (Or you don’t know, and you should. Don’t use that word unless you want to make the UI/UX people assume you came over from Marketing.) There’s no such thing as an “intuitive” UI, that’s absurd. There are, however, interface designs that provide eureka moments for users, even, by reducing or recasting what’s been in other software a general pain in the ass to deal with.

Thank god they hired Andy Hertzfeld to lead design. The Google+ Circles (groups/filters)/Invite interface is a thing to make you weep, truly. It took MG Siegler fifteen minutes to get used to it, but he goes blind and raving for fifteen minutes every time he looks at anything without an Apple logo all over it. You’ll get it in seconds, it’ll feel like you went “How do I do tha-oh, there it is, right where I looked for it” a bunch of times. It’s about as close to nipple as UIs get.  And it’s quirky and fun to play with, too.

It’s beautiful. If Google+ takes off at all like it ought to, maybe I won’t offend my mom so often, since I’ll actually use filters for the posts where I blaspheme and whatnot. They’re dead easy, as opposed to every other service, where creating canned groupings you use all the time is a giant pain, never mind impromptu/pick-up groups for chat or…video chat.

Which I tried immediately – called Hangouts in Google+, they’re simple to use and reconfigure and etc., and…I don’t do video chat, but that was kinda fun. I have no idea what the limit might be, I saw one with like thirty people.



I couldn’t launch a Huddle (standard chat with individuals, canned groups, or on-the-fly groups) from the Android app the first time I tried, but…hey, there’s an ANDROID APP. At first public invite, even. (And it’s pretty great – about as limited as, say, the Android Facebook app, but this is version the first, too.) Wait, is this really a Google social media launch?

So…logging complaints about bugs and issues, since I couldn’t launch a Huddle. Check this shit out:



Comparisons to Facebook being inevitable, here’s one area where Google’s already beaten the hell out of that dinosaur. Since Facebook pretty notoriously has no help desk whatsoever, really, and that is…just the most gorgeous trouble feedback system I have ever seen in an online service. Sniff.

What else? So many little things. Notifications, etc. tie into the newish top menu that ties all the Google services together, lately. No ads all over the place. No games and apps popping up constantly. You can share posts with people who aren’t even on Google+ via email, add them to Circles, etc. And the privacy settings and level of user accounting are already pretty insane – Google did listen to public outcry around the Buzz launch, it seems. You can keep anybody you share anything with from resharing it, block specific members of, say, Friends or Family, etc. Google even launched a new, easy way to nuke your Google+ or any Google accounts and take your data along with you, if needed.

Anyway, the iOS app is…probably waiting for Apple to stop throwing darts at a photo of crippled children and approve it…the invites are shut down for now, but they’ll be turning them back on, and if you’ve also been staring at a Facebook that loads like 2011 YouTube on a 1996 desktop and wondering if maybe Diaspora stopped sucking, lately, check out Google+. The hype this week isn’t kidding.


  1. I hope Apple isn’t sitting on the iOS app. For all the conspiracy theories about why it took them so long to approve Google Voice, the real reason they sat on it is that it’s the single buggiest app I regularly use on the platform (I use it daily, but it is an _incredibly_ buggy bit of software.)

  2. That sucks. Works fine on Android, as do all the third party apps for it. You’d think spending a year or two “approving” the app would ensure less buggy software, but then, the App Store approval process ain’t so much about quality, really.

  3. I should try the 3rd party ones, I guess.  The official one really is a POS, which is a shame.

  4. Are there any on iOS? When Apple shitcanned GV a couple years ago, they also yanked third party apps and made the devs refund all purchases. Which…would kinda make me less likely to go through the whole approval process for iOS all over again, were I somebody who made an app and had that happen.

  5. Yeah, there’s at least 3 or 4.  I’ll buy the best reviewed one.

  6. For future reference (if anyone ever lands here via a search or whatever) I ended up with the ThinkMessage/ThinkDialer combo, which seems fine so far — way faster and less buggy than the Google-provided app.

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