Yes, I am a Google anorak. Therefore, like the hypnotised iSheep who can never see anything wrong with the re-invention of the wheel that is pushed out as expensive but very shiny iProducts, I have to declare my natural and probably unhealthy bias towards loving Google (and Android) products.
Unlike an iSheeps’ unconditional love of iProducts, my love of Google is usually logically arrived at. That’s why I had to try to divorce myself from Google-worship for long enough to look sensibly at their implementation of Google+. I’ve written before about Google+ and my disappointment with it screwing those of us who use the Google Apps for Domains (here), and am already a bit narked about having to use multiple appearances of Google Accounts and the constant browser conflicts between them that I suffer, but I’ve gotten used to things a bit now.
Having everything else that I use within Google synced for one of my Google Apps for Domans accounts, and then having to also have a separate ‘christopherengland’ Google Account does not a happy man make.
Wait a minute, wtf am I moaning about? It’s all free anyway. I’m throwing a strop and stamping my feet yet I pay absolutely nothing for all the personal Google stuff I use nearly all the time (yes, my company do pay for the Google Apps for Domains that we use, but I don’t pay for my personal ones).
Ok. I feel silly now, moaning about free services, so let’s have a word or two about Google+ instead. Essentially, Google+ is really an enhanced Google Account / Google Profile. You don’t need to have a Google email address in order to have a Google Profile / Google Account. You can register any email address you already have, such as the one your ISP gives you, or a Hotmail / Yahoo address, or whatever you pick. You just make that the basis of your Google Profile / Google Account, they don’t force you to have an additional @gmail.com address.
Different people have different ways of working, and I sort of respect that, but the beauty of signing-in to a Google Account in any case has always been that you can use it to link together your preferred setting across the Google products you use, and it remembers them for the next time you are there. Google Maps for example always starts off in America unless you set preferences for the UK, etc, and ensure you are logged in. Youtube will remind you of what you’ve seen and allow you a playlist etc., when you are logged in, bla bla bla.
So, in a lot of respects having a Google Profile can be a useful thing beyond it giving one access (eventually) to the Google+ thing. Once Google+ is rolled out freely and not stupidly restricted as it is now, then, unlike Facebook/Twitter/Plurk/etc., etc., which people have to consciously join and learn how to use and fill-in lots of info and worry about privacy settings, Google+ will just be there ready and waiting alongside Google Maps, Youtube, etc., etc. In theory, it’ll just be part of the Google experience, no need to set up a Facebook account, no need to have a separate blog even.
I think the entire integration thing is something that those outside of the Google+ experience don’t quite get. Maybe they see social networking as being Facebook, a separate entity into which you have to sign and within which you only do certain things, leaving Facebook to join the outside world to do other things. The Google+ idea is that it’s just part of having your browser open and doing anything, as it’s not a separate entity, but part of, well, everything.
Google+’s only failing is that it should have been fully launched three or four years ago rather than now and appearing to cause confusion as ‘another social network’, when all along really it should have always been just be a natural extension of the Google that everybody uses anyway. Now, that would have made Facebook redundant before it started!