Do we really need another social media website?
Google apparently thinks so with their recent release of Google+.
I got my hands on an invite yesterday evening (through contacts on facebook, interestingly enough) and so far I'm quite ambivalent about it.
First of all, I enjoy the interface. It is clear and simple. Add to that the concept of circles (basically user-created groupings of your friends), and you have a recipe for something that might actually work. I loved organizing my hip and trendy contacts (all four of them) into categories. I've had issues on Facebook attempting to figure out how to hide particular posts from certain people, so this is just wonderful.
Another interesting aspect is Sparks, a feature through which Google recommends personalized content for any given interest. So a Spark called 'cycling' should provide information largely related to just that.
One extra bonus for me was the fact that it nicely integrated with previously googlized elements of my life, without feeling invasive (I'm looking at you, Buzz).
By far the largest negative was the fact that no one I knew was on. I'm aware of the fact that we're right now in a closed, invite-only test run, but damn it I need critical mass. Looking at my stream right now (Google+'s newsfeed), the last four posts have been from me... And there are only five posts total. Being connected to four people is boring and sadly, most of my Facebook friends are not early adaptors.
Which leads me to a previous ill-fated voyage of Google's infamously known as the Wave. Part of my problem with the Wave was that no one of importance in my life used the damn thing for more than a week or two. Add to that, we simply didn't know what to do with it. I really hope Google doesn't keep this recent endeavor in its crib for too long. If they do, it may very well suffer the same fate Wave did.