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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Is Google arrogant?

Are you on the A list?

With a great media buzz fomented by selective invitations to media and online "influencers" to try out Google+, I of course was curious to try out the new applications myself.  Notice the past tense "was".  I spent time this morning instead watching the live feed of the facebook roll out of their new applications.

I was an early adopter of Google Wave, even going so far as installing an open source program providing similar applications.  Once it was finally rolled out to us commoners, I found Google Wave to be a robust and useful set of tools and was unable to share them with anyone.  A group of us collaborated on a project using Google Wave, but the other members of the group had to install the program and learn to navigate.  Other than that one project, which happened to be the City of Napa application for the Google Fiber for Communities grant - I have had no use for Wave.  I was waving to myself. 

Google Buzz, on the other hand turned out to be a disaster of a completely different sort.  I finally rationalized that it would be safe enough to upload all my contacts to gmail in order to more easily format them for use in "Vertical Response" for political email.  This was several thousand contacts.  What could go wrong? 

It seemed like a few days later (though I don't recall how many), Google Buzz was sprung on all gmail users and exposed all of one's contacts as "friends".  All visible to everyone on the list. As a careful facebook user, I kept my friend list to myself during the last election to prevent political rivals from "poaching" or mining the list for their own purposes.  Imagine my shock at seeing my political email contacts exposed in one click of the switch.  Of course this flaw was quickly noted by other users, and a work around, then patch deployed.  Nevertheless, I have not used Buzz ever.

This brings us to the unfortunate current circumstance where Google is rolling out a new product to go one or two better than facebook, but more slowly and more inefficiently.  By the time Google is ready to let the common folk past the velvet ropes, there may be few commoners remaining.  The Google+ group page has many threads and comments by frustrated geeks who cannot add their friends to their circles.  Oops.  Google did not seem to notice that Google+ is supposed to be a social application.  What good is it if your friends are not there?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseAll us commoners will be video chatting on facebook - and not have to log into Skype to do so.  750 million other people + myself are on facebook's "A" list.  No wrist band, no bouncer. 

I like that.






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