So Google has launched Google+ or GooglePlus depending on your preference. So what is it?
Some people have described it as Google’s social network, an alternative to Facebook. But I think that’s a somewhat naive description. It’s social yes, but it’s more than that. Google+ is a place to centrally manage your Google Experience, with the aim being that your Google Experience becomes your social experience.
For the last decade Google has branched out from being just a search engine and built a variety of applications and services that have become widely adopted. GMail, Picasa, Docs, Calendar, Reader, YouTube, Maps, News, Translate, Blogs and Books all fall under the Google banner. While you can always sign in with a single account, each of these systems tend to operate in isolation. In a sense the Google Experience has been fragmented and separate.
What Google+ represents is a way to bring together the ‘stuff’ you make and the ‘services’ you use with the people around you. It’s about creating a single ecosystem. An ecosystem that allows you to create Circles of contacts and share your information with them. So rather than creating multiple personas you can adapt what you share to the different Circles. So those embarrassing photos from the weekend don’t make it to your boss, but you can still share them with your mates and have a laugh. Rather than restricting yourself, your content, your thoughts and comments – Google+ frees you and allows you to operate as normal. It put you back in control.
So my view is that Google+ isn’t a social network or a facebook killer. It’s a simple tool to create and manage a far more complex social ecosystem and network of people, stuff and services.