I was just reading an article by Jeffrey A. Tucker over at the Ludwig van Mises Institutes website entitled: Google Plus: Learning from Failure
. (Link to full article here
In the midst of several predictable observations about Google and G+ was a very astute observation (emphasis added):
the problem with Buzz was its presumption of homogeneous friend networks, Google surely noted that Facebook's infrastructure has the same problem. It aggregates everyone as either friend or nonfriend. Whether it's family, an acquaintance, a business associate, a teacher, or your psychologist, they are all in the same category. People have made fun of this for years, but mostly we've gotten used to it.
Still, this is the number-one complaint made about the culture of Facebook. There are ways around it, but they are tricky. You can create groups of friends and move people around within them. This works for some people, but most users are way beyond the point of making this viable.
G+ saw an opportunity here. It corrected not only the failure of Buzz but also the mostly hidden failure of Facebook. With G+, there is no such thing as a random friend. Just as in real life, everyone with whom we associate has a particular role. Your brother can be just your brother or he could also be a business associate, a fan of classical music, an associate from church, and a hunting buddy. He could be some or none. It is up to the end-user to decide.
Then the next paragraph identified something I had never thought about - but may well be the one killer insight or feature
in G+ that will put it (at least for the short term) over the top.
G+ has a very elegant and painless way of dealing with "friends" you no longer want - or didn't really want to begin with:
The humiliation and hurt that comes with de-friending someone is completely gone. If you have had a falling out with someone, you move them from this circle to that one — or remove them from all circles. There is no brazen and stinging announcement. The person merely ceases to receive updates from your posting feed. Peace at last!
That brought me to a halt. Because one of the things my GF (and other friends who are on FB) are always debating is how to ignore or snub people that annoy them without handing down the ultimate insult of publicly "defriending" them.
(In fairness, most times it's not that these people are actually bad - it's just they're often royal PITAs.)
Looks like G+ has come up with the cyber-equivalent of the caller ID and answering machine on your telephone. The chief real benefit
of which is that they give you the ability to selectively not
take a call - without being too obvious about it! (That's why half the messages left on answering machines begin with "I know you're there - pick up your damn phone!"
And even though most people being "phone shunned" soon put two and two together, there's not enough there for them to be able to conclusively prove, or even politely accuse you
of ducking them.
I think that's a little difference
that's going to make a big difference
for G+ adoption.