This morning I at last got into the new Google+, and I have been playing around with it. You can find my profile through this shortened URL, courtesy of gplus.to which is offering what Google+ itself should surely have offered.
So far I am not exactly overwhelmed with Google+. It looks rather like a tidied up version of Facebook, not cluttered with all the extra features which have crept into Facebook over the years. But of course that means it can’t do all those extra things, a few of which are useful. Of course they may be added in later, but that could spoil the uncluttered look. The only useful looking new feature is having separate circles of friends, but I haven’t yet worked out quite how that works.
I tried to find out how to link Google+ to Gentle Wisdom. But this was a frustrating experience. First of all, Google’s search engine seems unable to distinguish between “google”, “google+” and “google +1″, and in fact corrects “google+” (including quotes) to “google”. Fail! WordPress.org search replaces “google+” (including quotes) with “google “. I found a lot about how to put a +1 button on a WordPress blog (which I already did several weeks ago), and a theme which allegedly looks like Google+, but nothing about how to link with Google+.
What I want to do is to add Google+ to Sharedaddy, the “+ Share” button at the bottom of each post, but I have not found a way to do so, or even a plugin which mimics it. This would put a link to my post on my Google+ stream, similar to sharing a link on my Facebook wall. I was able to do this manually. This is not the same thing as adding the Google +1 button, which is more like the Facebook “like”.
Of course this may be because Google has not made it possible. After all, they are reportedly about to replace Blogger, currently the main rival of WordPress, with a new blogging platform integrated with Google+. But Google will never be able to conquer the Facebook and WordPress worlds if it cuts itself off from them, and certainly not by making it hard to share links on its wall.
So will Google+ kill Facebook? At the moment I don’t think it has what it takes. But it could well acquire it in the future, as new features are rolled out. Its biggest challenge is of course the sheer size of the Facebook user base. But, as MySpace discovered, large numbers do not guarantee lasting success. So we will just have to wait and see – and in the meantime make sure our blogs are prepared for it, by offering the same features for Google+ that we do for Facebook.