So, I’ve been cheating on you with the new tart on the block, Google+. I’m not ashamed of it at all. If you would get all Dan Savage about it we could all get along. Maybe. But probably not. Because, right now in my heart of hearts… I want to divorce you, Facebook. I want to run in the open fields with G+. Bask in her warm embracing Circles. Know that she has only eyes for me and isn’t looking over my shoulder while we hug to check on her crops in FarmVille.
I’m not naive. I know that with AdWords in their back pocket, Google can slipstream ads into G+ at any time. Right now I’m just hopeing that the people at Google stay smart and keep G+ ad free. G+ needs to be the loss leader, the 12-pack of Pepsi for a dollar at the all night Google Apps supermarket. If they realize that by getting us all to connect to each other on G+ and following our favorite bands and celebrities on G+ that we will eventually click on a few more of the links up in the top left corner by our +NAME. If they keep the G+ interface as slick and lovely as it is right now, people will end up just doing everything in their lives right through Google Apps.
And the Apps are probably the best excuse for a G+ account. When enough people join G+, when all of this invite only nonsense is over, Google might just end up being the only thing one needs. Within the Google world you can replicate the fun of connecting with long lost friends like at Facebook, the fun of dipping into celebrities lives like at Twitter, and keep in direct contact with your nearest and dearest in a Google+ Hangout. But when you add in the rest of the suite you get collaborative word processing with Google Docs, shareable calendering, a photo sharing/storage site that (for some at least) beats Flikr, email searching in Gmail, etc. etc. etc.. The G+ account just integrates all of these tools better that using them without G+. It is much more convenient to post links into you G+ stream that is already a click away from the document that you are working on. The interfaces are designed by the same company so there is a seamlessness to the operations that you don’t get by clicking onto the Facebook or Twitter tabs at the top of your browser.
This seamlessness that G+ adds to the experience is the killer app for me. It feels less distracting working within the arms of Google. It is a lot like writing in WriteRoom. It is simple and clean, but underneath that elegance lies a power. And that power comes from Google trusting us to be smart enough to use the tools that they laid out for us. We, the end user, are the ones with the power to build better connections with the world around us, or just the pretty lady on the other side of the room. All of the pieces were there, but it took Google+ to tie it all together.
Google’s Chromebook project was built for this level of integration. It is a natural extension of the G+ concept. It is a (relatively) inexpensive democratic machine that allows someone to utilize the most important aspects of the web as well as interact in a business and social context with the Google apps. The Chrome Web Store allows the rest of the hackers and creatives the opportunity to drive all of this development even further. What Google doesn’t have, somebody else can code. Video editing is going to be a place that third parties can do wonders. If someone can get a slick collaborative video editing system that runs inside of a tab in the browser on a Chromebook you have just given every garage band in the world the tools to relentlessly self promote themselves on a piece of hardware that costs $350. With the rest of the social and collaborative media functions built into the Google universe, that garage band can be in several garages spread out across the planet yet only a G+ Hangout away from each other. Or, more importantly, their fans.
So, goodbye Facebook… I loved you deeply and fiercely once, but you grew old and tiresome and full of advertisements and game requests. I hope my new love doesn’t break my heart like my last few (all the way back to the days of tribe.net). But right now, she treats me like I need to be treated. You knew this day would come. I’ve been looking around for awhile.
I’ll be by over the weekend to pick up my stuff. Sorry it had to end like this.
p.s. – I’d like us to still be friends…