Google+ makes a lot of ripples

Google+ has been more popular as a topic of discussion this week than cute cat tricks. And that’s saying a lot. Most people are writing enthusiastic blog posts about how much they like Google+. See Bloggers React to Google Plus. A few folks are trying to point out the good and the bad.

And, of course, there has been a lot of talk about what this means to Facebook: Facebook Announces Video Calling, Why Mark Zuckerberg’s First Public Response to Google+ is the Right One, and many more.

I’m drawn to the parts of the story that are getting less attention right now. EXCLUSIVE: Google To Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push being one. Blogger will be rebranded Google Blogs and Picasa will be rebranded Google Photos, according to Mashable. This brings Google’s blogging and the photo sharing services under Google+ social media control.

Mashable also reports that Google To Retire Private Google+ Profiles On July 31. Or as The Register puts it, Google: Go public on Profiles or we’ll delete you.

This prompted Shelley Powers to tweet:

This is so unsurprising of Google – make your profiles public or they’ll get deleted. And why expose a person’s gender?Thu Jul 07 15:29:56 via web

The initial reaction of many bloggers was that they like Google+ Circles because it allowed more privacy choices than Facebook. But having your Google profile made public whether you want it that way or not isn’t in keeping with that early reaction. Granted, most people have a public profile already, but some do not.

Shelley’s comment about gender was interesting too. We had a bit of back and forth about that on Twitter.  @epersonae joined in to say that “other” was an option on gender in a Google Profile.

@shelleypowers @vdebolt @Oakwright went & checked; yes, “other” is an option. (wish it were free-form box like on @mefi!)Thu Jul 07 15:42:26 via web

The gender issue may not interest you, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while: Have you thought about the gender choices on web forms? The mere fact that all-powerful Google includes ‘other’ as a gender option could have far-reaching implications in the world outside Google.

Developers are busy responding to Google+ with browser add-ons. Google has changed the Google bar. Google+ apps may proliferate the way Twitter apps have.

The point I’m trying to make is that something as significant as Google+ carries with it many ripple effects. Right now, people just want to get an invitation so they can try it out. But what will it mean in 6 months or a year? That’s what I’m wondering.


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