Google+ Debuts with a Splash – in a Good Way

Normally, I hesitate to write about new services or products right away. There are a number of blogs that are better known than the Clinic that normally address such things, so I like to wait until the dust settles to offer my two cents worth… if I can think of anything worthwhile to add.

Once in a while, though, I’ll be sufficiently impressed (or disgusted) that I just can’t contain myself. While I wouldn’t call the experience orgasmic, Google+ has been a pleasant surprise.

I’m not a Google-basher, but let’s face it… their track record on building and sustaining new models isn’t exactly stellar. My Dojo-mate, Tony Verre, mentions the shit stick method, which I think is a pretty fair depiction, even with the disturbing mental image it evokes.

So I was less than enthusiastic about Google+ when I heard about it. Who needs yet another social media platform to keep up with, especially when brought to market by a company with a long list of failures in that arena?

But the buzz kept building, and like the proverbial cat, my curiosity grew. I finally decided I needed to see it for myself, and reached out for an invitation (Thanks, Barry!)

I have to admit – I was impressed! It looks like this time, the folks at Google put a lot of thought and collaboration into the effort. They’ve put together a social media network that has the potential of becoming a major player, along with Facebook and Twitter.

The biggest attraction for me is the segmentation. No more worries about sharing something that will be interesting to a handful of people, but boring or spammy to the rest. That alone gives it great appeal! In-line sharing of images and videos is another plus, as is the ability to say something without having to cram it into 140 characters.

Apparently, the buzz generated paid off, as Google saw “insane” demand and had to hide the Invite Friends button and throttle sign-ups. Invitations can still be generated by adding someone to one of your Circles with their email, though. They may get a “We’re over-capacity” message when trying to sign up, but the throttling is reportedly readjusted hourly, so it they keep trying, they’ll eventually get in.

I’m sure we’ll see a lot of testing, discovery and tweaking over the next few days. It should be interesting to see how adoption goes for Google+. For the first time in a while, I’m optimistic. There seems to be some resistance to the flurry of simultaneous changes made to Google’s functional areas and appearance, but I suspect that may be by design, rather than accident.