Google opened to limited testing earlier this week its latest social networking service. Google+. What immediately catches your attention when using the service is its stark simple and yet beautiful interface. It makes Facebook look like MySpace, said blogger Ron Galloway.
Although Google is still actively developing the service (Googlers are directly engaging with users giving feedback on Google+) , I like what I see. So much so that I started campaigning with the running group that I co-founded, the Ungo Runners, so that we could possibly migrate there.
The huddle feature, which I still have to test, makes me drool at the possibility of uses on organizing group runs on-the-fly. It’s mentioned in this review by CNN’s Amy Gahran. But we all know this isn’t likely to happen soon (think of how long it took many of your friends to transfer from Friendster).
One major activity in online social networking is the sharing of articles and Google+ almost does it as well as Facebook. With bookmark services and applications still not supporting Google+ and with most websites still not using the +1 button, you have to cut and paste URLs into Google+.
In displaying the link, Google+ places the arrows that allow you to choose which thumbnail to use on the image itself. Facebook places the arrows at the right side of the thumbnail. (Check images at the end of this post)
What differentiates Google+, however, is that you’re not able to edit the title and the summary lead that comes with the link. I hope this is a bug, not a feature.
I think the ability to edit at least the introductory paragraph is important in article sharing because at times, the system is not able to grab the correct paragraph. In several instances of sharing in Facebook, the system generated gibberish. At times, they grabbed paragraphs out of nowhere or navigation items. But by clicking on the title or the summary paragraph in Facebook, you are able to edit it. Not so in Google +.
I tried sharing a book review by The New Yorker on Facebook and Google+ and was able to do so with the former but not with Google. Facebook got the introductory paragraph right, Google+ grabbed menu links instead and did not offer the ability to edit it.
To its credit, however, it was able to grab the correct main image in this article on Zynga’s IPO filing, something Facebook failed to do when I shared it there.
But it’s still in the very early days of the Google+ roll-out. Its developers are still working on the service. But I love it so far and can’t wait to interact with more of my circles of friends, contacts, and running mates in the service.
Facebook allows you to edit the introductory paragraph or title of articles you share in the system (click on image to enlarge)
Google+ does not allow you to edit the introductory paragraph and wasn’t able to grab the correct one in this book review by The New Yorker. (Click on the image to enlarge)
Google+ did get the correct main article image in this New York Times report. Still, I’d love to replace this introductory paragraph with the more effective article lead. (Click on the image to enlarge)