Google+ Experiment – Taking the Plunge

I have been on Google+, since I received an invite back in May, however, I haven’t really committed to using it much, because I have Twitter and many in my family are on Facebook.  While I like many of the things that Google+ does have and how it is easy to connect with others who share some of your interests, there doesn’t seem to be the ease of use of Twitter or the people that I actually know in the real-world on Facebook.

However, for me there are a few things holding me back from making the switch to Google+

Blogger Integration

No ability to directly post to Google+ from my Blogger Blog?  It seems kind of weird that you can’t post directly from one Google product to another Google product instead of having to cut and past the URL into a link.  Not an insurmountable issue or a deal breaker, but one that makes you scratch your head.  How many people with blogs use Blogger and it would be a natural thing to conveniently post to Google+, I am sure it is in the works, but it seems like an unnatural wall between two products that should work hand-in-hand.

Lack of Column View

As far as I can tell Google+ doesn’t have the ability to follow multiple topics concurrently using hashtags in columns, like I do on TweetDeck. The current user interface for Google+ is okay for following the main stream in a tab on your browser,

Screenshot showing Google+ User Interface

but I prefer to follow the stream in a sidebar while working on other things with TweetDeck or some other similar software.

Screen shot showing Tweetdeck column and Google+ Stream

Twitter vs Google+

There is too much to like about Google+ to not use it, but there needs to be a lot of tweaking of how information is presented before I move away from Twitter. I wouldn’t like Twitter nearly as well if I did not have the ability to use it as a sidebar with multiple column views that I have on Tweetdeck. I like how Twitter allows conversations easily between people in real time.  From what I have seen so far Google+ is less about the real time rolling conversations, but more for responses to what someone else has posted.

Yeah I know that you can always start a hangout, but sometimes, I really don’t want to have a video chat with other people and if you have several/a lot of people in the same conversation like an #edchat, #blogchat or #gardenchat then a hangout is not appropriate or feasible and Sparks or Circles doesn’t quite do that function to start a #chat in Google+.  So Google+ has a ways to go before it will replace Twitter for me especially without a hashtag or similar functionality.

Facebook vs Google+

In the other direction is Facebook, many of my family and friends use it to keep connected, they are not using Google+ and probably won’t for a long time.  Many of them don’t really like Facebook, but it is where everyone is and that is why they stay there. Google+ has moved out of private beta and is now in public beta, so this should help with getting people to join – maybe.  With many of the people I know they don’t seem to know very much about Google+ or what it can do and don’t have any plans to move from Facebook or use Google+.  I hope that Google+ doesn’t become the place for the tech savvy to “hang out” and everyone else stays with Facebook, but right now in the circles I run around in the real world, it seems to be that way.

No – my two cents worth on Facebook vs Google+ is that Google probably already has access to most of the information you put on the Internet (except what you put on Facebook and a few other places) and Facebook wants access to your information that it doesn’t have yet.  Both are large corporations with the end game being who makes money off your personal information.  It comes down to which one you trust more or which one you trust less.

The reality is that

I am going to make more of an effort to use Google+, to see if I like it as much as I did when it initially came out. I like the idea of a viable alternative to Facebook and that this gives me the reason I have been looking for to delete Facebook, which I am not all that crazy about.  I have to believe that there are lots of improvements in the pipeline and I want to learn them as they come out instead of having to go back and learn a bunch of new things all at once, so I need to really give it a chance.

Over the next week I am going to try an experiment. I am not going to personally post to Facebook unless it is something really important or an autopost from my blog, reduce my postings on Twitter except for those related to one of the chats that I am active in and use Google+ as my primary Social Media stream to see how it goes.  I will respond to those on Twitter that I know either cannot have a Google+ account or refuse to have a Google+ account for whatever the reason – you know who you are.

It also means that I am going to be going on a spree to follow more people in Google+ and I even found a Google+ Add Me – Sidebar widget for my blog that you can click to add me to your circles in Google+.  Let’s try it and see what happens.  Now to find a way to have a column view so I can have Google+ scrolling on the side while I am surfing or reading on my computer.

This one should be interesting.