Google+ observations

By Razib Khan | July 10, 2011 9:53 pm

– I have invited 5 people to the service (as per their requests). And yet I have 163 people in my circles. Right now the rate of people adding me to their circles is increasing.

– At least half the people I don’t even recognize at all. Most of these are obviously people who know me from the blogs I’m associated with in some capacity judging by people we have in common. A grand total of 1 person is someone I know from high school, and this individual I actually got to know much better at university. Otherwise, people I recognize and know tend to be bloggers and my friends in “real life” currently, topped off with a few friends from college. In contrast, Facebook is stacked with a lot of my friends and acquaintances from high school (as well as random people I met at conferences over the years or something).

– I still don’t know how to really use the service or see any strong components of functionality which gives it a comparative advantage over Facebook besides the relative transparency of circles vs. Facebook groups and lists.

Right now I’d say that Google+ does very little, but what it does it does smoothly. Facebook does a lot, but much of the implementation is kludgy. But for someone like me I think Google+’s future role may actually be to replace twitter, judging by how many people who I vaguely recognize only from twitter!

  • oldtaku

    Google+ has two great features.

    1) It’s not Facebook.
    2) It doesn’t have all those people you hate on Facebook who you have to friend because of real life obligations yet. There’s nothing quite as soothing as an unpopulated social network.

    #2 can’t last if the service goes anywhere.

  • Lab Lemming

    The trouble with Google’s model for beta testing is that the first arrivals are all computer geeks. The reason that facebook is so successful is that it works for normal people. I’ve caught up with redneck cousins and high school dropouts who otherwise I would never expect to find online. I’d like to see it take over the Linkedln niche, since that platform sucks, but I don’t know if enough academic administrators or senior scientists will populate it for that to work.

  • Sam

    I personally think that Google Plus is an excellent Twitter / Facebook hybrid. I like being able to share content with different groups of people. My Facebook friends would not appreciate the science articles I share while my followers would not appreciate the personal banter.

    I’ve always been a massive fan of google reader so I love having everything in one place. Will it catch on? I’m sceptical, but I hope so.


    Add me on google plus @

  • Andy

    Google+ is definitely capable of doing what both Facebook and Twitter do. Circles allow you to do all the more friends-only type stuff that Facebook does and public posts are analogous to Twitter.

    Time will tell what happens, but after a week and a half with it, I personally don’t want to use anything else anymore.

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    G+ doesn’t seem to have a DM feature, which I often use in leiu of text messaging on my phone. That’s the biggest thing Twitter has over G+, IMHO. G+ doesn’t yet seem to have any private messaging feature.

  • Razib Khan

    “The reason that facebook is so successful is that it works for normal people.”

    facebook was beta tested on ivy league undergraduates :-) not quite normal!

  • Keth

    Invites are coming much faster now, which I believe explains a lot of the increasing rate of adds. It’s a lot like a computer virus :oP

    It took a grand total of about two hours from the first infection until nearly everyone in my office (75 people or so) had come down with Google+ 😉 Yes, we are a bunch of geeks!

  • Lab Lemming

    Re 6:
    Ivy league science graduates (edit: students), or the general student population?

  • Justin Giancola

    @ 5.

    You can type in a specific persons name to share things with and even if they don’t have + it will pull their email from your gmail.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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