Beaconfire Survey: Google+

Periodically, we do a survey of Beaconfire staff to get impressions on a variety of issues. All opinions expressed here are solely those of their authors.

Google+ launched just a few weeks ago, in invite-only beta. Yet, it seems like literally everyone on the web has already prophetic claims about its future:  Google+ is going to kill Facebook and Twitter… or Google+ was doomed to failure since before it was even conceived, and will go the way of Buzz…

A number of us here at Beaconfire were lucky enough to get invites early on, and it’s been the topic of conversation at most of our recent meetings, so I figure it’s time for us to weigh in.

Our question this week: How do you like Google+ so far? Any predictions on its future?

David, Software Engineer: I’ve been active on Google+ and so far very impressed. The fine-grained control make me far more comfortable than Facebook. I’ll be interested to see how fast the community grows and if Facebook people just duplicate facebook posts on G+ (creating echo chambers).

Marissa, Functional Consultant: (As shared on Twitter last week):

“Geez, I just learned how to use Twitter…I can’t handle another new Social Media Outlet.”

Tim, Functional Consultant: I’m withholding final judgement until a few bugs get squashed in G+, but Facebook hasn’t been useful or enjoyable for me in quite some time.  G+ feels to me like something I will use over Facebook certainly, Twitter maybe, and LinkedIn (wait, what’s LinkedIn again?).  I like the character limit of Twitter and feel like it forces it to be something very specific that, so far, G+ has not been.  I can see using them both and using them differently enough to justify both, but really look forward to enough people getting on G+ that I can delete my FB profile.

Jeff, Principal: Liking Google+ a LOT. So many possibilities, most of them business related. I imagine the personal stuff will stay on Facebook given that grandma and casual users are unlikely to make a switch to something new. My take is the personal stuff will be the last to move if at all from FB.

But the business stuff will move as FB is a poor tool for business relationships given the inability to separate personal from professional. The fact that we mixed at all is an indictment of the social aspects of LinkedIn and the different nature of Twitter.

So, LinkedIn could be in big trouble, if Google ever allows you to start making connections in other people’s circles. But let’s assume for now though that LinkedIN is in ok shape but the growth of their tool as a social business tool is over, IMO.

I think Skype could be in trouble for business use of video chat. We’ve just been exploring this as a company for remote workers. Thus far, I am looking for a reason that we couldn’t use Hangouts for business calls, at least among staff.

Anyway so far like what I see.

Jo, Marketing Consultant: I’m excited about Google+, and I’ve been enjoying it. The interface is friendlier than Twitter, and the privacy controls are much better than Facebook. I like the Circles concept a lot – even though most of my posts will probably be public, or will go to all my circles, I like that there’s a higher level of control when I want it.

I suspect that over time, it will put a serious dent in the use of Facebook, or perhaps Twitter. It nicely fills the role of professional networking that many people use Twitter for… but Facebook has many skeptics, and Google+ offers enough of the same features that Facebook users may find it easier to ditch Facebook next time that company does to bug their users, which they will inevitably do again.

On some level, I’m uncomfortable with the fact that this new social network (which seems, in  many ways, to be the one I’ve been waiting for) comes from Google.  It’s the same discomfort that I felt when I got my Android: so Google not only has my email, my search history, and my location data, but now they own my social relationships, too? On the other hand, Google has historically been pretty responsible with their users’ data, compared to certain other companies.  I just hope they’ll use their power for good.

Amy, Functional Consultant: I’m still getting the feel of G+ but right now it’s hard for it to compete with my FB account, as I have 6 times the number of FB Friends as people in G+ circles.  A lot of what I use FB for is communicating with family and most of them are not early adopters, so it’s going to be awhile before I switch over completely.

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