We like the lack of clutter in Google+, both in terms of design and content. Apart from Circles and the Huddle functionality which allows users to create the 21st century equivalent of Internet chartrooms, the service has been spared a landslide of products.
Thankfully absent are Facebook-like “fan” pages, the online shrine for users who like a particular product, company or topic. We’re sure Stephen Fry will attract followers in droves as an individual/brand, but gone are the issue-based pages for people who think bad things are evil and want to ban that kind of thing while they keep talking about it to everyone they used to be real friends with.
The final notable product within Google+ is Sparks, a source of links and clips around a particular interest which adds a human interest to the giant’s search functionality.
The clean and simple functionality of Google+ translates well into its iPhone app, which launched this week, although some functionality is missing. For example, users can’t manage email alert settings or edit their profile.
We can already see ourselves not using LinkedIn and posting more niche (but childish and amusing) posts on Twitter when they can be tailored and sent out to a suitable lowbrow audience.
Google+ will without a doubt improve functionality including better search and closer gmail integration, and developers of third party applications like Reeder and Instapaper may allow the ability to share on Google+.
Currently, there is a Chrome plugin which allows users to share to Google+, but other browsers will catch up, and websites will introduce 1 pages at the bottom of articles alongside the usual social media tools.
The success of Google+ ultimately depends how well the company can reward a loyal audience with the right service. While the company hasn’t always hit the bullseye (see Buzz and Wave) this feels like the right platform with the public support to make it a success. It’s like Twitter with noise cancellation and Facebook with auto-focus. We’re not assuming social networking is for everyone, but we think Google+ will find a wider audience to attract a large userbase to make it fly.