Thanks to an early invite from Raanan I played with Google+ over the weekend. I want to jot down one thought about how Google+ treats identity.
A significant barrier to entry for many social tools is finding the people you already know who are using the service. This is what gets you hooked on a social service.
After logging in and exploring the UI for a bit I went to start creating circles. Here are the options, besides search of course, Google gives for finding people.
Yahoo! and Hotmail are the only two external contact sources I can use. 1 Those of us who have taken the time and carefully created lists of people we follow elsewhere should be able to import those networks directly into Google+. I don’t particularly care about the people Google recommends for me to follow.
With all the data Google has they could be populating lists of people. Instead presenting new users with their email address book, Google recommendations, and Yahoo! and Hotmail imports Google+ could instead be pulling data from Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, and much more. Break each service into a filtered list and voilà, easy and relevant user discovery for first-time users.
Our identities online are formed by much more than our address books. If Google+ is what comes next it would be nice if they acknowledged and worked with this.
What’s important as a first run experience on Google+ is whether the people I follow elsewhere are already there. The easier it is for people to bring in their existing networks of friends and followers the better Google+ will fare.
- Seriously?! How miniscule is the Venn diagram of Google+ and Hotmail users? ↩