A review of Google+’s pros and cons

It was quite hard to get into Google+. As we speak, the service is exclusive and by invitation only. I missed the initial invitation but got in on the 6/29 when they opened it for a couple of hours.
Good things:

  • The user interface is clean
  • The privacy setting is easy edit for every single data field in your profile.
  • Each post can have different privacy settings
  • Instead of friend list on Facebook, the “circles” feature makes a lot of sense and much more easy to use with its drag and drop feature.
  • Befriending/Following someone do not require you to be their “friend”. You can follow someone much like you are on Twitter. But it is reciprocal, you will see more posts from that person.
  • A really nice feature is the Instant Upload feature on your android phones with Google+. Every photo and video will be sync-ed up to picasa privately and ready for you to share on Google+. This is really handy especially when there isn’t an easy way to upload videos onto Facebook from Android now.
  • Group video chat called “Hangout” is really good. I especially like being able to watch YouTube videos together. More kitty videos to watch… TOGETHER.
  • I like Sparks. It is a feature where you can pin up some topics (using keywords) and it will return results from the web.

Bad Things

  • Re-sharing loophole can be dangerous especially posts are default to be re-sharable. Yes, you can turn it of individually.
  • Somewhat confusing is the distinction between Buzz and Posts. Your buzz posts do not show up in your post section.
  • When you first join, it asks if you want to link up your picasa albums. All in the sudden, all your photos in picasa is available to your new friends. I wish there’s a better way to handle this initial link-up.
  • Sparks is nice but I’d like to be able to share my Google Reader feeds in Google+

Overall, I think Google+ is already a very good alternative to Facebook. It has some really good ideas like Hangout and Spark. I think with it’s strong existing user-base (i.e. gmail), it will definitely be a good contender to the social network giant – Facebook. Now if someone can please make a site that will consolidate all the social networks into one place, I would be much happier.

Google I/O 2011

I didn’t register to go to Google I/O this year. I just started to work on Android about a month ago so I missed the registration by a lot. My colleague -Kevin was kind and let me borrow his badge to check it out for a little while. I went there for a session on Android Development Tools and skimmed the exhibitions floors. The exhibitions were not impressive. The session I attended was informative. The conference was way too crowded. Overall, compared to Adobe Max (which I liked), this is relatively “light”. Nevertheless, the registrants got their money’s worth. They all got a Galaxy Tablet AND a Motorola Mifi hot spot. Consider the registration fee is only $550 and the selling price for the limited edition Galaxy tab on ebay now is $1250, I think I will register for the next Google I/O for sure. It might be challenging as the 2011 conference was sold out in 1 hour.

Google I/O 2011 at Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA