19 posts categorized "Google+"

Google+ Expands Chat/IM To Your Circles - And Across All Google Services

Google announced a few minutes ago that they are rolling out new capabilities to the chat services inside of Google+. When the expanded gets out to all users over the next 48 hours, you will be able to chat with someone as long as you both have each other in a "circle".[1] What I found more intriguing was this note:
When you and your contacts have each other in Circles, you'll be able to chat with them across Google properties such as Gmail, Google Plus, iGoogle, Orkut, and the Google Talk Client.

So your Google+ contacts will now be integrated very tightly with your Gmail and other contacts and you will be able to chat with them from whichever service you are in at the moment. Multiple interviews with folks at Google have said that Google+ was the path to further tie together the various Google services... and now we're seeing that in action.

More info here:

[1] i.e. you have added them to a circle and they have added you to a circle - it won't work if only one of you has added the other to a circle.

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What Would Be Really Cool Is If Google+ Ripples Had...

... some way to search through a large Ripple to find a name (like yours, if you shared the post), so that you could see where that person was in the big giant picture. For instance, in this massive Ripple experiment that I referenced in my post about Ripples:


Right now there's no easy way I've seen to find a person in a Ripple of this size...

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Google+ Ripples Provides Awesome Visualization Of Sharing - Check Out These Examples!

Want to see a VERY cool way of visualizing the spread of a post on Google+ out to other G+ users? Using the new "Ripples" featured announced today, this is very trivial to do. Check out this example (of a post that is deliberately being shared around to test Ripples):

Keyanmobli ripples

Now, if you follow the link (or click on the image) to the actual Google+ page, you can then move around the image, zoom in on certain sections and do all the typical kind of movement you might expect in a Google product.

But where it gets even cooler is down at the bottom of the page where you can "watch the spread":


Press the "play" icon and you can watch the spread of the story as it goes throughout Google+. It's a very cool way to visualize how the story moves through G+.

Now, there is a caveat here. The post must be shared PUBLICLY in order for it to be included in the Ripples visualization.

This makes sense in order to protect where people have shared a post with only a smaller circle. But what this does mean is that if you want to try it yourself and see a Ripples view, you need to share an item out and include "Public" in the sharing:


Now here's a second example of an actual post (versus a contrived example) that was shared out widely. In this case it is a post/rant by Felicia Day expressing irritation about sites that don't use RSS. Note a couple of interesting aspects of the visualization:

  • There's a big circle where Wil Wheaton shared it out and then obviously had it re-shared by many.
  • In the timeline, look at the gap where Susan Beebe then created another bubble of sharing of the post.

Again, watching the spread is rather fun on this post:


Now, to view the Ripples on any post on Google+, you simple go to the "down arrow" in the upper right corner of any post to get the "options" menu, and there at the bottom will be "View Ripples":


Incidentally, that post from Chris Brogan also has an interesting sharing pattern:


It may be some time before we understand the full value of this Ripples mechanism, but already I can see that it can be useful in helping understand how messages flow. And certainly as Google+ starts to expand out into business usage, I could see charts like these being very useful for PR/communications staff or firms to be able to measure and show the sharing that a particular piece of content gets.

What do you think? Have you tried out the Ripples yet? Do you see value in them?

P.S. Naturally you might want to discuss this post on Google+ since it is about that service...

UPDATE #1, Oct 27th: Since I included all these well-shared posts as images, I thought I would also show you that Ripples starts working as soon as your post is shared once on Google+. Here is the Ripple for this blog post after I put the link in Google+. As you can see, it has so far been shared exactly once:


Now, of course, if any of you reading this post share my post inside Google+, then the Google+ activity page should update to show the other shares.

UPDATE #2, Oct 28th: I meant to point out in the commentary on "watch the spread" that this was very similar to the playback feature in Google Wave. I didn't... but TechCrunch did.

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When Did Facebook Start Letting You Unfollow Posts?

When did Facebook copy Google+ and add the feature that you could stop receiving notifications for a specific post? As the image shows, I just noticed it yesterday:


Very nice to see as there are certainly times when I have "Liked" or commented on a post and then not really wanted to see the zillion other comments that people have left on a popular post.

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John Battelle On The Importance of Aggregating The Digital Content We Post In Walled Gardens

The Internet Is Open
As we spread our digital content across the Internet, through separate services that we do NOT control, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Quora, how do we aggregate all that information somewhere where we DO control the content? So as to preserve our "identity" formed by that collective work?

That is at the heart of John Battelle's great piece yesterday, "We Need An Identity Re-Aggregator (That We Control). I've written at some length over the years about the re-emergence of online "walled gardens" and the need for us to maintain our own identity on the web. I've also spoken about this on any number of FIR reports I've submitted... and to me John really nails it with this paragraph:

The downsides of not owning your own words, on your own platform, are not limited simply to money. Over time, the words and opinions one leaves all over the web form a web of identity - your identity - and controlling that identity feels, to me, a human right. But unless you are a sophisticated netizen, you're never going to spend the time and effort required to gather all your utterances in one place, in a fashion that best reflects who you are in the world.

As he notes further on in the piece, even if you link to your contributions on one of those services, should that service disappear all your content is lost.

Over the past few months, I've been trying to change my behavior a bit and revert my own writing to how it used to be. I'm trying to post messages on my own blogs FIRST and then linking to it from the other services.

Even this post... I could have left it as a comment on John's blog, or as a reply inside of Facebook or Google+... but instead I am posting it here it is on a platform that I control.

It's hard... the various services make it seductively convenient just to have all your interaction within the walls of that service. And I certainly do have some level of conversation within those walls. But for longer content - or commentary that I want to preserve, even in the form of links to other sites with some comment, I'm trying to do more of that from my own sites. Kind of like how "blogging" was back about 5+ years ago before we got all caught up in these new shiny services that we all enjoy so much.

Meanwhile, I, too, would love to have a "meta service" along the lines of what John suggests...

Image credit: jeremybrooks on Flickr

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Why The "Nym Wars" Matter - Preserving Pseudonymity On An Open Internet

Identity (Clone trooper Tales #44)

There's an identity war going on out on the Internet right now... there are multiple aspects to it... but the key is that:

it is a battle for control of YOUR identity!

Think of any website you've visited lately that has offered you the ability to "Login with Facebook" or "Sign in with Twitter".

It's simple. Easy. Convenient.

And dangerous.

Because in embracing the convenience of such services (and I am certainly guilty of this myself), we surrender control of our identity to the identity provider.

But that is a broader topic for a much longer piece I want to write...

Right now I want to touch on the point:

What if the "identity provider" won't let you use what you consider your "real" identity?

What if the identity provider requires you to use your "birth name" (or "real name") instead of the name that everyone knows you as?

Welcome to the world of pseudonyms... persistent identities used by people instead of the names they were given at birth.

Pseudonyms have been with us for eons... as noted above, authors and entertainers have long used them. In fact, a pseudonym was involved with the founding of the United States.

And this pseudonymity is exactly what is at stake in what is being tagged as the "#nymwars" on Twitter.

This latest battle in the much larger war really began back on July 22nd, when Kirrily Robert, a developer (and former co-worker of mine) who has gone by the pseudonym "Skud" for many years, was suspended from Google+ for not using her real name and took to her blog to publicize this fact. There have been literally hundreds (and maybe thousands) of articles on the topic posted between then and now... with the most recent wave being about Google CEO Eric Schmidt's comments that Google wants you to use your real name because they want to be an identity provider... and do things with that "real identity" of yours.

This battle isn't just about Google+, though. Facebook would also like you to only use your "real name" and to have you assert only your "real" identity.

I could go on at great length about why this is a bad idea, but would instead point you to this excellent but lengthy piece:

Read it... and then go back and read it again. A powerful piece laying out so many of the reasons why pseudonymity is important.

And a key point is:

Pseudonymity is NOT anonymity.

There is an entirely separate discussion to be had around true anonymity... and the value therein - or not.

But that is entirely different from the idea of a persistent identity that one uses as a replacement for one's "real name".

Should we not have the right to use the name that people know us by on these services?

The response, of course, is that using these services is optional and you can, of course, choose NOT to participate in Google+... or Facebook... or whatever other service requires you to use your "real name".

And obviously that is an option.

But what if many of the conversations I want to participate in have moved to one of those services? What if all my friends are sharing photos using some new service... and I can't because I'm forced to use a different identity than what I want to use?

What if I am an author or entertainer and want to engage on that service with my fans through the persona I use?

What if that service is the only way to communicate out of my country or region and using my real name may get me killed?

Pseudonymity matters.

Control over our identity matters.

The ability to control the identity we choose to use on services on the Internet matters.

The war for our identity will continue to rage... will the victor be the organizations who control the services we want to use? or will we retain the right to control our identity?

Your choice...

Other good articles worth reading:

Image credit: koisny on Flickr

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Fascinating Chart of Growth of Google+ Relative to Facebook and Twitter

Fascinating chart on the growth of Google+ relative to Facebook and Twitter, courtesy of Leon HÃ¥land:

Growthofgoogleplus 1

Now, of course, being the newcomer Google+ benefits from already having Facebook and Twitter out there to spread the news about Google+ ... and to spread the links to Google+ material.

Google also has the massive directory of users of Google services... from Gmail to Google Docs and everything in between.

So on one level it's no surprise to see the phenomenal growth... still, it's quite impressive by any measure.

P.S. And of course I am on Google+...

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Google+ App Finally Comes to the iPhone! (But Not The iPad)

At last, we iPhone owners who have been watching our Android-owning friends play with Google+ for the past couple of weeks, particularly with uploading photos, can now play, too! The iOS app for Google+ is now available.

A couple of quick screenshots:

Googleplusiphone1 Googleplusiphone2

The app worked great, too, for uploading photos to my G+ account. It also has some interesting features like the ability to swipe with two fingers to switch between your main "Stream" and the "Incoming" and "Nearby" streams. I have only started using it, so we'll see how well it works in repeated use.

Sadly, though, the Google+ app will NOT install onto an iPad, even in just the reduced-size iPhone mode. When I go to the iTunes URL for the app, the iPad flips over to iTunes, and then gives this error message:

Gplus on ipad

A couple of other folks commented (on Google+ naturally) that they were unable to load the app onto an iPad through other means.

Too bad, really, since the Google+ browsing experience on an iPad is so miserable. :-(

Regardless, it's great to have an iOS app available for Google+ ... I'm looking forward to using the service more!

P.S. And of course you can find/follow me on Google+...

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Video: Rocketboom Provides A Great Explanation of Google+ vs Facebook and Twitter

With all the hype about Google+ lately, a lot of people have been seeking to understand how it is different - or not - from Twitter and Facebook. The folks over at Rocketboom came out with this video that does a nice job of explaining the differences - kudos to the team!

And yes, I'm naturally on Google+ these days...

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