I recall the days when MySpace was “the place to be”. We all had our profiles, decorated the way we liked, with our favorite songs starting up whenever anyone went to our profile page. Some profiles would never finish loading since people decided that 500 sparkly animated images about how cool things are was simply too awesome to pass on up, and they wanted to share them all with the world. Of course, this is one of the reasons MySpace died. Mass advertisements (removed by AdBlock, thanks very much!) and slow loading profile pages.
This is when Facebook began to flourish. Simple, clean pages, fast loading times, and you could easily find what you wanted to: your friends and their updates, all in one neat looking spot. Then began the now real of Facebook, with the online free gaming system, one Facebook application at a time. And as such, continued on went the days of slow loading pages, clutters and messes and not finding what you really want to see, and the needing of sorting through trash to again find meaningful updates from those you associate with.
It feels to me that every 4-5 years we are in need of a new social media connection. Google tried and failed with Wave, Buzz, and now their new toy is out, Google Plus. Will this finally be the magic trick that Google succeeds with?
I’ve taken a run through of the new Google+. For now, with limited friends, it does feel like Facebook, but reinvented for our new decade. More ajax framework, more ability to easily move and sort and group content and friends in the ways that you like. Classify any bit of your online life, how you choose. That’s how I would sum it up so far.
Google+ is designed around “Circles” that allow users to group people within their social sphere into different categories. Google says that the people you tend to meet up with on Saturday nights, for example, can be grouped into their own category, while parents can be placed into another. You can then decide to share only certain information with different Circles.
In addition, the social service includes a feature called Hangouts that lets you find others who are “hanging out” on the Web. If you decide to join a given hangout, you’ll be able to engage in a video chat with the others there. Google+ also comes with an Instant Upload option that automatically uploads all photos and videos from your phone to your profile. From there, you can decide who to share that content with.
A Sparks feature in Google+ lets users input interests and then receive “something cool” related to the specific topic, including news, videos, and other content. The service’s Huddle option allows for group chatting on mobile devices.
Though Google acknowledged that its social service is currently in a “field trial period,” comparisons are already being drawn to the company’s past attempts to build a top social network.
And now, what about Zynga, the company who produced Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc — what about them announcing themselves going public and opening with a $1 billion IPO? Rather absurd I feel. They’re just a free-game company that heavily relies on Facebook. If Google+ kills of Mark Zuckerberg, where would that leave Zynga? Pretty poor.
My advice: Stay away from purchasing shares of Zynga, and don’t remained too attached to Facebook 6 months from now. If Google is finally right on this one, Facebook will soon join the ranks of MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal, etc.