I can’t believe I’m writing a blog post about Google+

Really. I’m more surprised than you are, I promise.

Also, I promise this will not be a blog post about “What news organizations can do with Google+” or anything of the sort. Promise. Will. Not.

So the thing that consistently confuses me about social products from Google is that as a user, I have truly mixed feelings about how much I want public and private in the Google universe.

On one hand, I have a rather public persona on the Internet, where you can find (tens of?) thousands of things I’ve said on Twitter or this blog, or links I’ve saved, or comments I’ve made, or in some cases, even news articles I’ve reported.

But what’s much slightly more difficult to find, unless you bother nosing around my screen names, or you’re a closer friend than the average blogger, is the sort of thing I say on Facebook about my family or people-I-see-in-person-lots friends, or pictures that I post of my kids.

And as usual, that’s what has me confused about Google+, which clearly aims to be a ubiquitous social layer to the Web, omnipresent in my browser as I use Gmail, Calendar, and Reader, on and off all day long, on my laptop and phone.

Do I use this for personal, old-friend conversations? That’s mostly something I do on Facebook these days. And besides, where are these things going to show up? On my Google profile? Which is the first thing anyone is going to see (I think?) when they search for my name? Yikes. That’s why I hated on Buzz: I couldn’t control what showed up on that very public part of my persona. Other people’s comments and conversations around links that I share are something I want people to have to click a couple more times (like on this blog?) to get to. That’s why I removed my Google profile and stopped using Buzz so quickly way back in the day when Google stumbled over privacy issues in social products.

Do I use this for professional, branding-related knowledge trumpeting and link sharing? (Yeah, that’s how I just framed it. It happens.) Not sure. Twitter still feels like the right place for that, from time to time, when I’m not busy desperately trying to sound more clever than I am in person.

Anyway, let’s put all that aside for the moment.

The feature of Google+ that interested me the most when I saw the demo, and still seems like the biggest deal to me? Hangouts.

Silly name aside, casual group video chat with a limited (ahem) circle of friends/colleagues/cats = a winning feature for me. The YouTube thing built into it is pretty awesome, too. This makes me want to set up circles for “Soccer Fan Friends” so we can open up video chat and watch USWNT and Copa America highlights together. Or commiserate/empathize over the Gold Cup final.

That’s about it — I don’t need another status app, or link sharing app, or blogging app, or curation app in my life or workflow right now — but real live connections with my friends and acquaintances around the world? I’ll take it.

Author: Ryan Sholin

I'm that guy you know from the Internet.

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