Sunday, April 27, 2014

Will Google+ Become Android Social? What I liked about Google Plus

Photo: Senior Vice President, Android, Chrome & Apps at Google
Last week tech news coverage spoke a lot about the departure of Vic Gundotra, Google's
Senior Vice President, Social and speculation was rife about the future of Google+. I chose Sundar Pichai's photo for this blog post because this is one executive to watch at Google. Currently looking after Android, Chrome and Android Wear plus apps. I am confident that there is a lot of consolidation that will happen in the next few months.

Features of Google Plus that I love 
  • Photo Backup : The best way to keep my photos synced between my phone, computer and camera is this feature. Moments after taking the picture on my phone I can download it on Google+  on  my desktop. This is not necessarily social but a good feature. Of late my Android device has made this a separate app called Photos that allows me to share the photo on any app on my phone- Twitter, Facebook or other. In this way Google+ has been excruciatingly painful for sharing with other networks. I advised friends even on iOS devices to use the Google+ photo backup option.
  • Highlights and Animations through Photos : The coolness of Google+/Android realizing that come photos were taken consecutively and make them into GIFs. Adding snow to your pictures was cool, again this was more an android function that I used from my phone.
  • Contacts:Again a Google+ Android phone convenience to have your Google+ contacts appear on your phone was useful along with your Gmail contacts being synced to the phone
  • Communities: This is one feature that us device/desktop agnostic and is much more user friendly than the Google Groups. This is the most authentic "social: feature of Google +
My peeves about Google+
  • Confusion on Business Pages :  Way before Google+ made it's appearance, Small businesses were learning the ropes, setting up Google Local pages for their business. Just as they learnt the ropes , Google Plus started to force them to create Business pages and the distinction was not always clear. To this day I am not sure there is a way to make sure you have a Google Local and a Google Plus Business Social page and integrate both so you are able to manage just one presence. The Google Local page is very important for small businesses since it depends on people using Google Maps to find the business.
  • No Open Sharing API's : Many of us are members of multiple networks.  I use buffer to share to my networks based on the content. I never have been able to do that based today. I had to login to Google Plus to share. I would have liked to use a tool to see a stream of Google Plus updates.

As a android user I am happy if the Google Plus features I like are integrated into the Android device. I won't miss  Google Plus, How about you?

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