The PJ Tatler

Google+: Even the Geeks Can't Explain It

I’ve been on Google+ for all of a day now. I haven’t checked into it once, probably because I’m still in the habit of checking to the now archaic facebook and twitter. But I guess I’m not alone in being a little bit underwhelmed or maybe sidestruck by G+.

At first, everyone thought it was Facebook.

But as tech insiders take more time to explore Google’s new online social network, called Google+, which is currently available only to people who are invited to the service, they’re becoming more and more confused.

Is this Twitter?

Kind of. Some bloggers have rushed to declare Google+ as Twitter’s assassin; others say those claims are bunk; and still others say Google+ has made them rethink Twitter to the point that they say it never really was that valuable.

Is it Tumblr, the blogging platform?

Maybe. Kevin Rose, who founded the once-popular site Digg, is so enamored with Google+ that he essentially gave up his blog in favor of it.

Is it something new?

No one’s really sure about that idea, either. Google+ is the Taco-Bell-meets-Pizza-Hut of social networking, throwing Twitter’s “follower” mentality, Facebook’s look, and Tumblr’s digital-salon culture all onto one combo plate.

So yeah, I haven’t really figured it out, which I guess is part of the plan. One thing’s for sure: It will get political shortly if it hasn’t already.

Looking over my G+ feed or whatever they’ll call it for the second time…yup, it’s mostly political.

When you first log in, it looks like a blank slate. And when you add friends in your circles, it’s not totally clear whether they’re in G+ or whether you’re extending them an invitation to join it. I do predict that the circles thing, which segregates “friends” and “acquaintances,” will cause more than a few tiffs.

I thought we were friends!

Dude, we met at the 2004 convention and that’s the only place we ever see each other in the real world. Like, once every two years.

Whatever. Loser.

There is some major functionality power lurking inside G+ that’s not present or even on the horizon for the other social media networks, and that’s the combination of social networking with Google apps and video chat. That can open up some new possibilities for online collaboration and just hanging out that aren’t really replicated elsewhere. So, like everything else Google does, G+ is likely to be a little bit spooky and a whole lot successful. Once the 10 million people who’ve already joined up start figuring out what it is.

Are any readers here on G+? What do you think of it so far?