Google+ Facebook Killer?

Ezra Klein thinks Google + could succeed because it gives you a chance to start over. It also gives you a chance to filter who sees what, and you can always delete your account. Now that people understand their own roles in social networking, we might behave differently online. Google also might be better at privacy than Facebook. It would be hard to be worse.

I only heard of Google + yesterday, but I’m already on the beta and … well I think it’s pretty outstanding actually. I’d like to see full Reader integration, but overall it’s quite sleek, user friendly and attractive. Better on all counts than Facebook.

More importantly for many, it’s not Facebook. And that may be enough.

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the editor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.


  1. How did you get the Beta? I tried to log-on and it said I had to wait for an invite.

    I’m pretty hype about it since yesterday but getting my friends to join en masse will be a multi-year project.

    • I received several invites from other users. Now invitations are closed.

        • Mike, I can probably get you in. Send me your gmail address and I can finagle you some instructions. I didn’t get an invite, but if you jiggery-pokery yourself around other peoples’ pages, you can suddenly turn your own Google+ access on.

          • Added you to a circle, Mike.

            The workaround that worked for me was to go check out someone elses’ comment thread when they’d added me to their circle, while I was logged into gmail, and then mucking about for a quick moment I suddenly had my own G+ presence.

          • Open a tab to after you’re logged into Gmail in one tab while you’re looking at the comment in another, and you can log in.

            At least, that’s how I got in with no invite 🙂

  2. “Ezra Klein thinks Google + could succeed because it gives you a chance to start over.”

    I think if a lot of people could start over, they wouldn’t join anything.

  3. OG Jaybird (the gmail account associated with me wrt this website) was able to sign up.

    If you have a gmail account, I think you should be able to get in.

  4. I got in last night through a friend. I think they’re opening it more, at least temporarily.

    It will be a while before I find out if I really like it.

    • I would but they always open them up for like four hours and it’s always when I’m away from my computer.

      • No worries – I just tried to login and it looks like the page has changed, so that’s a good sign. My employer has already blocked the site though. Darnit.

  5. First thoughts (I’ve played with it for a day):

    Functionally, it’s built about a jillion times better than Facebook, which isn’t terribly surprising as Facebook was a jillion times better than MySpace.

    Barring the same underlying fact that you’re putting an awful lot of information in the hands of a single provider, its security model is better than Facebook’s (much less is default-on) and there are better tools for finding out what you’re publishing and to whom (awesome for unskilled users) and the trust model is much, much better.

    I don’t know if it can survive the network effect, though. Facebook has a very large population, and many of them won’t move. They’re the same sort of cats who used AOL well into the early 2000s.

    • I’ve been playing with the Demo page

      So far I’m in love and I’m not even on the official site. Very user friendly and slick-looking compared to clunky ol’ Facebook. I agree with Pat that many will be slow to come on board. It’s amazing how slow some people are to adopt these kinds of things. I’m really curious to see what my teenagers do since they will drive it’s longterm success I think. For the 30-40 something tech folks I think this will be a huge hit (and if early reviews are an indication it already is).

  6. Is anyone doing any following yet? Google managed to suggest a few dozen bloggers I really enjoy as potential contacts but the idea of ‘following’ them seems kinda creepy.

    • When you follow are you following a Google+ feed? Is it compatible with Twitter? For a lot of people that is the forum of choice at the moment.

      • Until you create groups, you can add people to a few basic circles – you have friends, family, acquaintances and following, instead of the basic ‘Add a Friend’ from facebook.

        I guess I’ll add some folks to ‘Following’ and see if anyone freaks out. Sorry in advance, ED.

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