I’ve been trying out the new Google+ for about a week now. At first I was a bit sceptic, the buzz was there, everyone wanting an invite felt a bit like both the Wave and the Buzz introduction. Look how that turned out. So I approached with some aloofness; just another Facebook look-alike, even the ‘stream’ and +1 stead of ‘like’. Still I started playing with it for a bit. The ‘circles’, that proof to actually work very efficient. Checking out the ‘picture’ part. The ‘hangout’, which is a Google-talk feature that lets you video chat with groups of friends. Sparks, that I am not really sure about yet . Than I realized, this is much more than just another Facebook look-alike. This is Google tying together the web. They already had all the good services that I use every single day in place. Now they are tying it together with a solid social addition that looks good and is integrated in all of their existing services. Notifications that I can take care of in a drop down feature from the top menubar present in all of the Google services without actually going to Google+ is a big advantage. Suddenly it is everywhere. I use gMail, Google talk, Google docs and Google calendar every single day and all those services add to the experience by showing the menu bar up top. I imagine that the Chrome browser with extra share and other possibilities will only add to this experience.
Having an Android phone I installed the Google+ app. This app is a far better experience than any Facebook app I have had so far on my phone. I love how checkin’s work perfectly within the app. Although I do not understand why the location is often off by more than several hundred meters while my Google maps app is scarily accurate. I can imagine that I even will consider using picasa as the dedicated place for my pictures instead of the current Flickr or iPhoto in the cloud, because of the improved features and good integration with all of the other services. Smart move there Google, offering me more space and offering to auto upload all of my phone’s pictures and Video’s the moment I make them to be stored online. Huddle is another Google+ phone addition, it lets you message groups of friends at the same time, using your circles.
Its like every service is enhancing the experience. Making it, for me at least, not so much a Facebook vs Google+ battle but rather a Google vs Apple thing. (Even if that is Apple and Oranges) Will I still buy that much desired iPhone this fall, or do I stick to my Android because of the great Google+ integration, Yes I know there will be an iPhone app soon, but still, here Android has the advantage. Is safari ‘it’ or will Chrome enhance the Google+ experience enough for me to decide it is worth the switch. Time will learn, for now, I have put aside my sceptisism and however this will turn out; Google did a pretty good job tying togehter the web with a social line that is extremely well thought out. The Google+ experience and I’m loving it so far.