Thursday, July 21, 2011

Google Plus or Minus?

Used it for a week and here’s what I think. 

The hangouts will definitely be useful – an easy way to have a conversation / work session / parent-teacher conference / snow day that’s no snow day / office hours ... 

The feed:  I’m seeing random conversations, sometimes interesting, but the feed seems disorganized and waaaaaay too long.  The order that things post still isn’t apparent to me – as new material shows up far down in the feed, at the top, in the middle.

I’m afraid I just don’t like one big feed – that’s why I use #hashtags and Tweetdeck with Twitter, with each #hashtag in a separate column.  Without organization it’s just a lot of stuff thrown together.  I'm thinking: Do I need still another stream of stuff to scroll through?  While I read my raw Twitter stream at times, mostly I concentrate on the hashtags.  

Hard to send a message to an individual.  I was able to leave a comment on a colleague's page, but never saw her response to me until I happened to go back to her page. 

Also it can be hard to send a message to a group.  G+ seems to default to try to send your post to whatever circles you used on your last message.  Then makes it hard to reduce the circles - seems to only want you to add circles for a message.  I ended up sending to the larger number of circles just to get the darn thing sent.  Definitely still Beta.   

(It's easy to report problems, though you don't receive any direct response.)

Here’s the biggest problem I've encountered.  If somebody adds you to their circles, whether you want it or not, whatever they post (to the circle they put you in) shows up in your feed – including the profane, the inappropriate, and the juvenile.   You don't have to have them in your circles either.

And though G+ has directions for blocking somebody, the directions don’t work.  You’re supposed to find Chat on your Home page, enter the name of the person you want to block there, click on Action, then on Block – except the only thing you can do there is click on start a chat. I don’t want to speak to this particular person, just block his content.  I can mute individual posts, but not ALL that person’s posts.  They’re still clogging up my stream.  And do I want to show somebody else G+ when this guy’s idea of humor and vocabulary are streaming by?  I don’t think so.

Since I reported the problem somebody (Google?) deleted all the posts from this person.  Thank you!  But I’d prefer an easier way to block somebody than filing a trouble report (or going through interminable steps...)

Hangouts have a real future, but there are a lot of wrinkles Google has yet to iron out. 

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