Google+ has been causing a bit of a stir over the last week as people with invites have been putting it through its paces.
I don’t have an invite. 🙁
But then, neither do the other people in my core network.
Watching the tweets come in about how people are finding it is fascinating. While nobody that I’m following has gone hugely ape over it, the responses seem to range from “meh” to “interesting”. No one has been outright hostile as far as I can see.
I was interested in this post from Read/Write Web about the possibilities (and limitations) for using Google+ in school. It seems like it’s not offering anything revolutionary in itself but the collection of tools in one place with eventual support for Google Docs etc puts it in a powerful position.
Also, check out Tom Barrett’s post on the subject.
Doug Belshaw highlighted the influence on our collective online lives that Google could wield if Plus takes off.
The other theme of note is the inevitable “is this an Facebook killer?”.
Why is it that for some new technologies to have been judged as successful they need to have obliterated the competition? Do we apply that reasoning to newspapers? Chocolate bars? If we’re worried about concentration of our online data in the hands of a couple of corporations then having a broad spectrum of platforms is surely more healthy.
Of course, networks work best where people flock together and Facebook’s 600m users make quite a flock. Also, quite a lot of my personal experience over the last few years is catalogued in Facebook and I’d be loathe to abandon that record.
A few years ago, the mobile operators were forced to introduce number portability. It was apparent that mobile telephony was as essential tool for people and to facilitate competition the networks were told to allow users to carry their number onto other networks. Arguably, some people’s social network activities are now as important as their mobile phone.
Would this be possible on social networks? Not easily. Platforms operate in such a variety of ways that simple transferability isn’t possible. Transferring data between eportfolios or VLE’s is hard enough. Also, the comparison doens’t quite work as we might be consumers of social networking but we’re not necessarily customers so social network providers are under a different set of obligations.
What I would like to see is a SoMe ecosystem that evolves to facilitate easy movement between platforms and a greater measure of compatability between them. It’s not really in the best interest of the likes of Facebook but I can dream, can’t I?
In the meantime, I’m off to set up a support group for learning technology people that didn’t get their early invites for Google+.
I think I’ll do it in LinkedIn.
Image credit: Ripples by Cappuccino_iv – By-NC-ND