back to article Google field tests (yet another) Facebook rival

Google has introduced yet another another answer to Facebook, rolling out a social networking "field trial" dubbed "Google+". Mountain View describes the project as a means of connecting with people online more like you do "in real life". "We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," reads a …


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  1. BugsBugMe

    The prohibited user base

    You forgot to mention that Google Apps users are prohibited by Google from using G+. It requires a Google profile.

    1. Craigness

      So get a google account

      You shouldn't be using this in work anyway!

  2. Rich 3

    What's the point of a social network for a "small number of people"

    Surely the whole point is that you need a critical mass? Why would I want to post something that goes to four or five acquaitances, when I can get 75% of my friends on FB?

    I reckon that Google are doomed to fail in this unless they leverage all their search/gmail user base into social network users. And they can't do that without getting nailed for privacy invasion.

    1. stucs201
      Thumb Up

      I'm probably getting my own share of downvotes for this...

      ...but I really don't see why so many downvotes. I agree the whole value of a social networking site is being able to contact your friends through it. Therefore the one which makes sense to use is the one which your friends use (even if it takes a few minutes occasionaly to sort out undesirable default settings). A new completelty separate social network that my friends aren't on makes as much sense as a whole new telephone network I can't call the phones on the existing network from.

      The only way I could see multiple social network providers making any sense (for the user) is if they cooperated a bit and defined a standard by which they could all talk to each others servers and appear as part of one big system that the user picks their prefered supplier for (you know - the way email, usenet and the phone system work).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm probably getting my own share of downvotes for this...

        "The only way I could see multiple social network providers making any sense (for the user) is if they cooperated a bit and defined a standard by which they could all talk to each others servers and appear as part of one big system that the user picks their prefered supplier for (you know - the way email, usenet and the phone system work)."

        There are already standards, but that leads to the usual problem with standards: that there are so many to choose from. Add to this the unfortunate trait of everyone wanting to get into social networking - to be the player that killed Facebook instead of establishing an environment where you can have cooperation and healthy competition - and such bit players remain bit players forever.

      2. Justin Clements


        That's very easy to explain.

        Anyone who posts anything derogatory about Google gets downvotes. Google has incredible brand loyalty from people who will accuse everyone else as being fanboys, but then who fail to see that they are Google Fanboys themselves.

        Watch the FTC thing roll out for instance, and anyone who considers Google a predator will get down votes, and if the Google Fanboys run out of arguments, then they resort to "There are bigger companies to get before Google", like that some how makes the online world a better place...

        As for Google wanting to be Facebook - I'm not changing so that a couple of megabillionaires can make even more money off me and my information. I'm sticking with Facebook thanks.

        One social network company is enough.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Small number of people

      Hold on, you're criticising Google for doing testing on a small number of people? You do understand what the point of testing is?

      They got instant "critical mass" with Buzz without much testing, and the only thing that was successful at was pissing everyone off.

      1. trottel

        Divide and conquer - fragment and destroy

        ...or something like this. I hope there will be more social network sites that get traction until the market is so fragmented that people can not be bothered anymore -> death to them.

        In the middle run, we will all have mobiles implanted anyway, acting on thought or subvocalizing and we can keep all contacts "in-mind" (you heard it here first!) and we will grow another sub-consciousness to sieve and sort incoming messages...

    3. Ben 42

      Reading comprehension? I've heard of it.

      Maybe if you read the entire sentence you cherry picked from, you'd see that they're _testing_ with a small number of people. They're not planning for the service to only ever have a small number of users.

      As to whether a new social networking site makes sense, if Google can do a Facebook-style site that's better than the mess that is Facebook, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat and anyone who wants to socially network with me will have to do the same. Are there enough people like me to make it a success (and will it actually be better)? I dunno, but people on MySpace were probably saying the same thing when Facebook launched (I remember when they spammed our whole campus about it - we were all convinced that it was a phishing scam. Still not sure we were wrong ;-).

  3. Charles Manning

    Multiple circles makes sense

    Most of us have different groups of friends and associates that we keep separate. It makes a lot of sense to keep your professional self distinct from your carousing week-end mates and the people that went to school with you.

    Managing these different relationships will improve the quality of the networks. Better for the punter. Better for data mining too!

    1. Ammaross Danan


      For once, a social network that makes sense. The big problem MyFaceSpaceBook has is that your work "collegues" and your "BFF"s get the same level of view to your posts, rants, raves, and terrible cell-phone pics from the night before. "Circles" would allow you to tier that into "this is a picture of me, some basic work/edu history" and "this was me last weekend on a bender"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Just don't say anything stupid on your Facebook status that could get you in trouble in the first place.

  4. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Up

    facebook apps

    Facebook does a lot of things well - but it fails in 3 ways:

    1) They have an option to switch off the "facebook platform" killing all apps for you - but some of us use productive apps and don't want to just switch off the entire platform. A simple checkbox in settings "Allow friends to invite me to apps" is all it would take to solve the frustration of seeing "Joe said something about you, click here to see what he said" type messages.

    2) Android - what a joke - the new update that hit the market has little in the way of requested features. It's a horrible bloated app and it shows that Facebook really don't care about their users.

    3) Control. Yes it is possible to put people into lists - but it is time consuming. Yes you can edit each post you make to control exactly who gets to see it - but again it is time consuming.

    I really hope that Google make a decent effort with this - and most importantly - C2DM enabled from the start please.

    (It beggars belief that neither Facebook nor Twitter have managed to push out a half decent app that uses C2DM - it is not rocket science to enable and will have major benefits for battery life of handsets as well as lower bandwidth usage! Both services are perfectly able to send an email whenever something noteworthy happens - pinging the Google Server with a message as part of of the notification engine is easy!)

    1. Craigness

      App permissions

      The new version of their android app requests permission to read all your SMS messages. And to send SMS, even to premium rate numbers. And to delete your SMS. But it's not an SMS-based app!? Part of the problem is google's lack of fine-grained permissions, but I'll not be touching the app with a bargepole.

  5. Eguro

    Facebook does kinda do it

    You can setup different groups within your friends and then chose what these groups can see and not see.

    And when posting a message you can customize it with reference to these groups.

    People can also be members of various groups.

    So Google will at the most streamline this process, and make it easier to do.

    The obvious response from FB, if one is warranted, is to point to my points above - and perhaps make it easier to do

    1. DF118

      True but...

      The way fb does it is horrible. It's so janky too, that I would never actually trust it to keep my social groups apart. Neither, I'll wager, would most people - leading to exactly the kind of shallow, lowest common denominator social interaction for which Facebook is famous.

    2. mittfh

      FB Lists

      Sure, you can organise your friends into Friend Lists, but actually using them is very cumbersome. Write your post, click on the padlock on the bottom, select the option to send to a specific user, type in the name of the friend list, click OK.

      There's now an option to make your choice the default, but that applies across everything. What would be better is if you could set different defaults for different applications (so, for example, if you're playing FarmVille / CityVille etc., only those friends who are also players get to see your activity on those games) whilst still allowing you to post YouTube "Likes" to all your friends.

      Rather than the idiotic "Everyone" / "All my networks" / "Friends of Friends" options (do you really want anyone outside your friend circle to know you're Justin Bieber's number one fan?!), how about allowing you to easily select a list / group of lists to send your update to? Combine that with allowing per-application send defaults, and you've got a much better platform.

  6. Eddy Ito

    Oh really?

    "as a means of connecting with people online more like you do "in real life"."

    Simple recipe: one part telephone, one part coffee shop and 3 parts pub; shake; pour over ice... only digital and online. What could go wrong?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Oh really?

      Dude, mixing coffee shop with pub? That's disgusting!


      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        SMARTer Thinking

        "Re: Oh really? ..... Dude, mixing coffee shop with pub? That's disgusting!" ..... DZ-Jay Posted Wednesday 29th June 2011 08:54 GMT

        Very normal in advanced high societies, DZ-Jay. Alcohol is such a downer.

        Oh, and one mustn't forget that Google has another giving network which gathers intimate and private thoughts shared to an audience of peers with their blogspot creation.

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Re: Oh really?

        Not disgusting at all in NL......

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Simple recipe:

      "one part telephone, one part coffee shop and 3 parts pub; shake; pour over ice... only digital and online. What could go wrong?"

      Easy. it's digital and online. So no coffee, and no Beer.

  7. Tim Greenwood

    Sounds like a better idea

    The problem with facebook is it's too messy trying to keep people apart. What you might want to discuss with some friends, might not be what you want your parents/spouse/children to see, or vice versa. This could be a better way although whether you would trust it is a different matter.

    Interacting with people in the real world still seems to work for me.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Sniff, sniff...

    Do I smell desperation - if at first you don't succeed try, try, try, try again...

    Do you really want to give Google 'even' more information about you / your friends etc. - but there again is FB much better ;-(

  9. Tony Paulazzo


    I trust Google about as much as... well, El reg, but it would be kind of funny to see Facebook crash and burn from 6 Billion to worthless in as many months, then Google gets ripped apart by the American 'you're making far too much money and controlling the market' bureau of monopolistic practices and Bing becomes No1 search engine - or maybe I just have a strange sense of humour.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Title

      Even if Google were to disappear it wouldn't stop Bing being Number Two.

  10. Rob Williams


    It's quite bizzare, a couple of days ago I posted a blog about the fact that social sites need to embrace the way that people share different things with different groups in different ways. While I feel that google+ circles feature goes some way towards this, I don't think it goes far enough.

    Social Media with personality

    It will be interesting if this is the first step towards a social web that acknowledges our different "personas" and means we don't have to create multiple business, home, friend accounts etc.

  11. johnnytruant

    circles eh?

    Almost exactly like the system of "aspects" that Diaspora uses, even down to the drag-and-drop interface and the little puff of smoke when you de-aspect someone.

    Which was, actually, the best thing about Diaspora. If Google+ can hook into Facebook so I don't have to manage both sites at once (Diaspora did this fairly well) then I might be interested. I dislike almost everything about Facebook except the fact that all my friends are there, which is why I still use it. Google I dislike slightly less, and trust slightly more. Slightly.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    why not

    I can't see why FB and G didn't partner up. FB could do the Facebook platform, Google could manage the ads - which they are the experts at - and they could split the profits somehow. Then they wouldn't have to keep making their on competing failures.

    Google are the model NIH freaks though.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Martin


    Can't believe no-one has posted this yet...

    As for the suggestion of having two facebook accounts, one for work and one for friends - isn't that what LinkedIn gives you?

  15. Zimmer
    Thumb Up

    Win for the kids

    Today's 'byline' (hover over the cartoon) says it all....

  16. wag
    Big Brother

    Image tagging

    I trust Google a lot more than I do Facebook. I'd happily switch to Google+ when it becomes available, but (a) unless my friends on Facebook also make the switch there would be no point and (b) there are still some things that Facebook has got right that Google aren't offering - tagging people in images being one that springs to mind.

    Ultimately the hardest thing about moving away from Facebook is the whole reason we all hate it so much - you can't download all the stuff you have access to on there and take it with you to a different application - Facebook keeps its customers not by attracting repeat business but by locking them in.

    Still, I'll give G+ a try and see where it leads...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't trust Goole

      Facebook no doubt got its respect for privacy and marketing ideas from Google. They just aren't as good at covering things up, haven't been in the business as long, and made the mistake of making privacy breaches immediately visible to the user.

      Google's lock in techniques are a little bit more subtle and what freedom they do allow for exporting data can be revoked at any time (such as if a competitor started to become too powerful or if they wanted to use easily revoked interoperability as a means of negotiating a contract). Being a loyal customer to Google is pretty easy, but it takes countless clicks to get away from them completely. Even then, being a disloyal customer starts to get pretty difficult when you have to find a new company to do business with every time the website you're using gets run out of business or assimilated by Google. Most people just give up.

      When other services start to decline in quality (coincidentally or otherwise) then there's always Google no matter how bad it (Google) is. (But they're the most popular because they're "better", right?). When Google starts to go bad, then you have to look for a site that gets enough web traffic and enough advertising revenue to support itself, you most likely end up using Google's search engine to look for the "competition."

  17. Pat 4

    The problem

    The problem with creating a new site to compete with Facebook is that... everyone's already on Facebook.

  18. Grozbat


    I'm thinking Google would have more success with a Trojan Facebook app that adds missing features to Facebook, like more customizable profile content.

    Alternatively, open up the whole social network thing with semantic network tools.

  19. Jeremy 2

    I appear to be one of the chosen ones...

    ...just a shame I have absolutely no desire to use it, huh?

  20. John 62
    Big Brother

    email list?

    sounds similar

    Also from the screenshots I thought of Meet the Fockers and the Circle of Trust.

  21. DZ-Jay

    "Get Stuffed"?

    Or should it say... "Oh, GTFO!"


  22. petrosy
    Thumb Up

    Google.... I wish there were more of the.

    Everyone sits an b1tches about Google but at the end of the day they have given more tech to teh public then most other companies. Yes they do it in order to drum up their own business but they do not stop people from taking it an trying to make it better and using it themselves.

    They not on the whole sue some one if they are successful...instead they endevour to be better at what they do. So they mine data.... big deal. They are atleast kinda open about it and unless you have been living in a cave its been happening for decades even before the internet.

    I for one enjoy using the google apps and if it means they mine data about me to keep them free I am ok with that...I have no delusions of self grandeur .

    So next time you b1tch about google think about how awesome the search engine, maps , earth and all their other tools are and quit whyning!

  23. Huns and Hoses

    [dontpost] JFYI - typo in url

    Looks bad on fb :-/

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