Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google+ - some answers

Some time ago at the last GDD in Munich I could talk to Ade Oshineye about Google Buzz. At that time Google plus was in the making, but he could not talk about it. But today I had the opportunity to hear him answering questions on the GTUG hangout with GTUG members from eastern europe. More exactly five GTUG chapters met last week in 5 Czech and Polish cities, connected via Hangout.
His answers shine some light on the development and future of Google+. As always, there was not definitive date for anything he talked about. But the following points are worth to mention:

  • Google+ for Google Apps is currently running at Google, but there are still things to decide about handling different aspects of Google+ in the enterprise
  • Google+ for businesses is on the way, but is not yet ready for roll out
  • Google+ API has some similarities with Google Buzz but is not the same. 
  • Google Buzz and Google Plus are different and have not yet been merged, because Google has not decided how to integrate both parts.
  • Google Buzz is a feed aggregator, where different sources like Twitter, feeds, Google Reader and so on are merged to a stream, but these sources could also be muted, if a reader does not want to see specific sources from another user
  • Google Plus does not have this aggregator feature and it looks that there is no easy solution how and even if it makes sense to integrate both services or keep them separate
  • Google+ API will be available throught the Google discovery API, which means, that a lot of clients for different languages are automatically available, after the discovery document (JSON) has been finally created for the Google Plus API
  • Ade is working on the Google Python client api and it is working for Google Buzz, prediction, custom search, lattitude and others, but Plus is not yet available, but will be similar.
  • Google+ is written in Java and GXP and Clojure are used for the front end
  • Other Google products like docs, calendar or others are not integrated and it looks there are no plans yet for it. But Google is open for good solutions and ideas how to integrate other Google products. But the main idea is, to see what developers build after the release of the API.
  • For the question, if there will be a possibility to transfer a personal Google+ account to a Google Apps account, Ade pointed to the Google Plus API and he said, that this would be something he is considering to write by himself - but this is no official annoucement about a transfer utility
  • Talking about gadgets Ade pointed to the integration of YouTube into Hangouts, which is a gadget that uses Google's Wave protocol.
  • Extending Hangouts to more than 10 users is a problem of bandwidth and resources on the client side. Hangouts do have now 10 input channels and are mixed on Google's servers and then send back on 10 output channels again. So extending the number to more users means also more channels and the resources are growing more with more users. So he is requesting ideas how to reduce the bandwidth and the resources needed on the server and client side. 
If I missed some points or something is wrong, please let me know and I will update this posting.
Some links, that Ade mentioned in the talk: 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Paul Tassi is right about Google+

 has written this article in Forbes magazine called A Eulogy for Google Plus
google.comIt may not be dead, and it’s entirely possible I’m shoveling dirt on something that’s still writhing around, promising me it is in fact the next big thing, but I’m now deaf to its cries. Google Plus is a failure no matter what the numbers may say.
and after getting some responses via G+ and via email he has written another post called The Rise of the Google Plus Faithful
I think Google Plus is a cool site, and I will admit my original “eulogy” title was a bit of hyperbole, but so is saying that Google Plus will destroy Facebook with its influx of new users, when the vast, vast majority will not make the transition. I believe there is a place for it on the internet, but it will not be the revolution its faithful would have you believe, and telling me I’m not “working hard enough” to enjoy my social network isn’t the counter argument you should be making.

Why is Paul Tassi right?
I am a great Google and Google+ fan and I think Paul Tassi has found that Facebook is a great site for him and his friends. That is ok and because he has already his circle of friends on Facebook he is quite satisfied with this social world. I have talked to some people now about Google+ and I wondered how low the interest for Google+ was. Facebookers have their one circle called *Friends*.

Facebookers have just one circle called Friends

If you talk to your friends and live with their life, like +Ian Bicking has described it in his post

The quintessential use of Facebook is to tell the story of your life. And, in turn, to read the stories of your friends. There's cute links, calls to action, etc; but the core of it is a personal story. The much-ridiculed I am in line for a latte update even makes some sense in this context... it's just not very good storytelling. And on Facebook that's okay; you aren't reading for the quality of the story, you are reading because of the quality of your relationship with your friends, and the stories build on that. Twitter of course is entirely different, it's clever, it's entertaining, when it's not you unfollow a person, and even when it's built on personal connections it's more like friends hanging out and talking shit than personal communication.

Facebook is about story telling and about trivial things. And I guess this is what a lot of Facebookers like. They live their life, tell their story to their friends circle and they are happy with it.

Google+ is more about open minded peopleIf you are on Google+ it is a lot more about following news, people from different countries, journalists, googlers, people from very different backgrounds and listening, talking and discussing about what matters.
Linda Lawrey has written a nice reply on Google+ to Paul Tassi. But as Paul Tassi has already written in his reply. If you are a Facebooker, having Facebook is enough to be happy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Google+ Games are now introduced - but why before Search and Business Profiles

Games in Google+ have been announced yesterday. The roll out has begun and will arrive over the next days in your Google+ environment. Not everybody is happy with the annoucement. Especially because Search and the real API is missing.

As cool as games are for lots of people, hopefully, the have done it right and it is not annoying to Google+ fans. As Google+ is still a field test and only people, and not businesses are invited, games could be the right move to attract more users to the game.

But I would be very excited to see the internal road map of Google+. I thought it would make a lot of sense to have *search* or *business profiles* or the *google+ api* up an running before *games*a re introduced to Google Plus.

*What could be the reason for this very different road map?*

I am really not sure about this, but I try to look for some answers:

1. Games developers are keen to get their games to a new platform

Games are not only for fun - at least from the game developer perspective. Game developers want to make money. And field testing the acceptance of games in Google+ environment could tell a lot of very specific answers for the developers *and* for Google

2. Games are not developed by Google but by third party developers

As we know, Google+ was started as project Emerald Sea about a year ago, so game developers like Zygna and others had lots of time to get ready for the game. After the very positive introduction and start of Google+ games were the next logical step.

3. Challenge Facebook and Apple

By introducing games, Google+ could be a lot more attractive for casual game players and if done right, the annoying parts, as we all have seen with Farmville and Mafia games, could be left behind. Challenging Facebook and Apple is another part of the story. Uptil now Google+ was a nice social network but had not the gamification parts, that made Facebook grow like bamboo. With about 25+ millions users Google+ could be large enough to attract a lot of games and pulling more game fans into Google+. Combined with the 150 invitation that every user now has, the growth of Google+ could gain a lot more traction.

4. Testing the possibilities to make money from Google+

Games can be sold and Games have the chance to sell goods, more levels and other stuff within the game. This is very attractive for the developers. Keeping in mind, that Google Checkout is working quite well on the Android platform, time has come to introduce it to a larger audience.

5. Just attract a much more broader audience

Could it really be that easy. Introducing games to attract lots and lots more of users to Google+.

Not sure how games are integrated in the Google Plus universe, but there has to be some kind of API. So this could also be a first test, how well the API has been designed with a limited number of game developers before the official Google Plus API is released to more developers.

Google+ Platform Blog

Hopefully Google plus is expanded with search capabiliities and business profiles in the near future.