First off, I absolutely think Google+ is fantastic and I’m thinking of giving up twitter in favour of it, which should say a lot. I think it has the ability to be THAT good. However, google missed something big. As “Science of the Invisible” points out (and via tech crunch) – Google circles are great for organizing, but don’t really help you in the noise to signal ratio.
So, I’d like to propose a new Idea: Google Squares.
Instead of the loosely grouped people that make up circles, a Square would be a rigidly defined group, with moderators. The moderators have two roles: determining who can post to a Square, and who can follow a Square.
Imagine, if you will, a private Square. Lets imagine I want to start a Square for my family. I can first decide to make it private – only people who are invited to the square are allowed to see the posts, and only those in my family are invited. It becomes, instantly, the equivalent of an email mailing list (but much easier to set up and manage) for my family members. I don’t have to worry about typing in the email address of my family every time I want to post something to the Square – and neither do my other family members. Only one person needs to set it up (the moderator), and it instantly becomes a useful communication tool for everyone I add.
It would be useful for labs, social groups, clubs, etc. And, it moves people away from email – a long time holy grail of security experts.
So, what about public Squares? They could be even more useful – providing the equivalent of a blogging consortium, or twittering group (which don’t even really exist.) Imagine if there were a Square with all of your favorite twitter-ers. You can still follow them all, one by one, if you like, or add them to your circles, but the square would give you instant access to All those people who someone else has pre-screened as being good communicators and worth following. Instant increase in signal-to-noise.
Finally, the last piece lacking is direct URLs. Seriously, I’m a bit miffed that google didn’t set this up from the start, even based on the google ID. Really, I’ve had the google id apfejes for a LONG time – why can’t I have plus.google.com/apfejes. Even twitter has this one figured out.
In any case, these are minor grievances…. but I’m waiting for Google to up their game once more. In the meantime:
Do not disturb my circles! – Archimedes