Google+: Waving the Buzz away

Instead of working hard, which is what I should be doing, a minor health issue (at least I hope it’s minor!!) forced me to take an unwanted rest for a few days. By a mere coincidence, this was the week that Google decided to launch their new not-so-close-but-now-definitely-closed-again social service, Google Plus.

Ironically, I was stuck on doing Second Life-to-social-networking integrations and needed a break, when my PhD supervisor managed to figure out a hack to send me an invite to Google Plus, so I logged in to see what the buzz was about (pun definitely intended).

Please note that Google has a terrible track record in launching absolutely new services, so I was a bit reluctant to join Yet Another Failed Social Networking Service by Google. I had joined Orkut when Google bought it; Orkut is pretty much forgotten by the whole world except in Brazil and India, where it’s used heavilly. When I’ve registered to Google Wave, I was looking forward mostly to its most important feature: integration. I have always been wary of duplicating content all over the ‘net and not being able to bring it together in the same place. For example, it used to be simple to add Flickr and YouTube streams to Facebook using an application for that (there were tons). Then Facebook decided to reinvent the wheel and just offer those very same services instead of having people use competing services; so that meant re-uploading everything again. Sure, there are still ways to get some integration, but Google Wave promised to completely change the way we thought about integration. It had a rather powerful API and some very cool ideas. Alas, on my poor outdated Macs, it was a pain to launch Google Wave and watch the slowdown — way, way worse than logging in to SL with my usual FPS of 1.8-3.3 🙂 And of course I did not understand very well what Google actually wanted to do with Wave: not integrating with everything out there, but simply to allow others to integrate everything with Wave — which obviously didn’t happen overnight. It was clear that the collapse of Wave was imminent; a friend of mine who works for Google says that they pretty much maintained Wave around for so long because programmers were happily sharing code on it, as well as “old school” role-players (of the paper-and-pencil generation), so it still had a purpose.

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