Google+ : Promising but mostly Lonely Planet right now

I was lucky to receive Google+ invites from two sources mid last week and spent all weekend playing with it. It’s been 3 days and I have just 3 connections in my ‘Circles’ on Google+. Neither of these are close friends or family or in my regular real world social circle.

So right now Google+ feels like being early to a party. It seemed cool for 5 minutes to get in before everyone but now you wonder if your friends are going to show up.

As mentioned in the announcement, Google is referring to it as a project to signify that isn’t the final product and there are more useful features to come.

No doubt Google+ is innovative – especially Circle and Hangouts. It’s  great that I can see notifications on the toolbar and switch between other Google products and Google+ so easily. And it’s awesome there’s an Android app for something before an iPhone app.

Here’s a slideshow I put together highlighting the features at launch and my first impressions of the service.

I believe the test will really be to get current Facebook users to see an incentive in Google+. Why should they consider porting all their content on that network to Google+ or see the need to have multiple posts and identities on more than one social channel.

Sheer laziness and privacy concerns will be the main entry barriers to do so. Besides, while Twitter and LinkedIn occupy clear niches that justify investing time in them, I’m not sure what differentiation Google+ promises.

As someone who uses Google products a lot – Adwords, Chrome, Blogger, Gmail, YouTube and owns an Android phone I have a high affinity for anything Google. I also already manage multiple identities on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so Google+ is not going to be a problem. And I see the value in adding more useful content to my publicly visible Google profile for anyone searching me by name.

But what of the teenagers, housewives, twenty-something girls, older citizens. Will they jump on board and do on Google+ what they do on Facebook. And if they don’t will the few on Google+ stay active. I already find it hard enough to convince friends and family to use Twitter and Foursquare.

I also wonder what is appropriate to share on Google+. Just anything as on Facebook or more high brow like on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve decided Google+ falls between Facebook and Twitter/LinkedIn.

Have you test driven Google+ yet. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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