"Invites"? I just for some reason get the sense that this is a rehash of Wave. (which was supposed to be the biggest new thing, and I wondered why it just fizzled out).
Right now Google+ access is limited to invitees because it's still a beta product. That's not to say there are bugs and glitches; so far I haven't encountered any. The point of the invites is to limit the user base to a group who will use it and report any problems or shortcomings. And not freak out and stop using it in the process.
For instance I participated in a 'hangout' yesterday with the Google employee who invited me to Google+ and a few other people he invited. He diligently reminded us to report any issues.
As for comparisons to Wave, Plus is already doing better. Before a couple days ago I'd never even heard of Wave. :P
I thought this was interesting. It's a comparison between the Privacy Policies of Facebook and Google+: (The Google one is specifically referring to pictures.)
Basically, Facebook gives itself permission to use anything you post, and give it to anyone they want.
Google says it won't use any pictures you post.
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside
them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” -Neil Gaiman
I read a blog post about this yesterday @ http://photofocus.com/2011/07/06/goo...e-you-sign-up/ . The author paints a very grim picture in regard to IP rights when you post something to a Google service (+, Picasa, Blogger, etc.) by omitting a very short but very important part of the terms of service (which you can read here):
"11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to..."
Basically what Google and Facebook's policies are saying is "You own the copyright to anything you post, but you give us licence to format and distribute it for the purpose of actually making it show up on the website." Google and Facebook don't want you to come back at them with a lawsuit claiming they made derivative works because they formatted it down to a manageable file size, changed the file format and allowed it to show up in an image search. That's all they're really saying. Basically the Picasa and Facebook policies are the same except Facebook's is in 'legalese'.
Nice to see Facebook's policy changed in the last couple years. Back when I had an account it didn't say "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook," in effect giving Facebook implicit ownership of anything you posted. At the time it also said that even if you deleted your account Facebook retained the right to keep everything you posted.
It fizzled out because it was new and confusing. Google+ is basically 'facebook but less invasive/stupid"
Well, even though I don't remember any direct comparisons of Wave and Facebook; they way it was promoted, it did sound like a similar idea; being a bit more visual (pictures, etc.) alternative to e-mail.
The latest batch of google launches have followed the same path as gmail and igoogle. This approach is to invite a small number of 'key users' and a small number of 'randoms' in the hope that they will disseminate invites in a targetted manner to their friends and colleagues.
This worked *best* for igoogle because the alternative services were so poor by comparison and the product was ' house building', i.e. people attained high ownership of their space. Would you prefer Yahoo where you are force fed the difficult Yahoo homepage layout or worse yet MSNtoday? Good lord no, give me nice clean igoogle an let me build what I wish. Give me fidelity and control of the project. The truth: the friends and colleagues factor is a nearly irrelevant mirage as the creation of interaction/exclusivity does not translate into increased usage.
G-mail is a functional and private product also, akin to igoogle. The ease of use of gmail and the lack of google 'pushing' brand google adds value. It is successful becuase its opponents were/are relatively weak. Hotmail is a dirty word as is yahoo when it comes to functionality and individuality.
The failure of google wave, gchat and Google+ are bound to be for exactly the same reasons:
A requirement for interactions from others when the people who spend most of the time worrying about their PC are not 'people persons' (excepting the staff of google) while mareting the problem as a 'build a house' problem where exclusivity adds value.
Although the technology may be technically ' neat ' there is no requirement for change. MSN/skype/facebook and are more than functional enough for the average users needs that there is little benefit in changing service and therefore people do not change, they dabble then leave back to what they had thanks to inertia.
Back to the behavioural economics of the problem:
They are targetting an 'exclusivity buy-in' to what has the most value with the most accessibility. These services are like the telephone. The first telephone has no value because it has no other telephone to call. The last telephone added to the network sees the most benefit because it can dial all of the existing telephones.
The only way to break into a market fighting against giant information exchange networks is to offer completely free and easy accessibility so you can get a 'greater' market share than others. I believe Myspace is a pressing example of that gone wrong; they attempted to move from 'value in houses' to 'value in interaction', unsurprisingly when people had less accessibility they say more 'value in interaction' in facebook because it had a larger, more frequented interaction netwrok.
Until the leaders of Google realise this they will continue to fail to meet the basic execution requirements for designing and creating any sort of massivley successful social application.
Post Edit Note:
Upon review I decided to add this note: It is not that Google+ is doomed to fail, however if it does succeed it is inspite of google and it's strategy, it is not because of it and only because the product itself is something 'worth using'. No amount of street cred will ever compensate for a lack of additional value for the user under the bonnet.
You should note, I am currently not using Google+ or Google wave (although I once tried to use it) and I only use google chat to stay in contact with a single stubborn power user. I use Skype occasionally and I use facebook. I rarely log into MSN perhaps once a month tops and I use gmail and igoogle daily. Therefore nothing above is a real 'technical critique' of Google+.
Last edited by InvisibleJim; 07-12-2011 at 07:23 AM.
Reason: Post Edit