Skip to main content

Integrated with Google+

Google is aggressively promoting Plus. This means that all services are now going to be integrated with Plus. Picasa Web Albums exist, but are no longer the default photo management service. Instead, clicking on photos links me to the pictures from my circles on Plus. Reader is soon to go, and be merged with Plus. Buzz is to go, and Blogger too has been integrated with Plus.

The networking aspect is the goose (that lays the golden egg) of the day. Whether or not Google wants to take on Facebook, Plus looks like it's here to stay. Why should it not? Google has learnt its lessons from the Buzz fiasco, and have the USP that relations in real life are much more complex than the friend/not friend status that others offer. In fact, I think that Plus is closer to Twitter than it is to Facebook, but without the character limit, with the option to comment on posts, something I enjoy. The ability to follow random people with interesting posts and engage with them in a meaningful way changes the way I have viewed networks. It's a new concept to a person who has so far thought of networking as Facebook or LinkedIn. Suddenly, the knowing barrier has been removed, it is no longer important to know a person to engage with him/her. The importance of breaking this barrier has been recognized by Facebook, and suddenly, it too has come up with an option to subscribe to a person's posts.

The secret to a good Plus experience is to create meaningful circles. It's no use adding everyone to the friends circle, if that was the case, you'd be better off with Facebook. If you think it's difficult to classify a person, just add them to the following circle, it means that you are just following them. Once you begin following a certain number of people, patterns will emerge, and you can then try to classify people. For me, I'm interested in photography and graphics design. So, I create a circle with the title Photographers I follow. With interactions on posts by these photographers, I discover a whole range of people who are amateurs like me (but whose photographs have a much better quality). For such people, I created another circle Random people interested in photography. Since some of them were also graphics designers, I could then create another circle with the title Graphics designers I follow. Get the drift?

The ability to effectively group people is the essence of Plus. As Prashant remarked in one of his posts, it is entirely possible to create a circle so that you get only good posts. Probably because there are a whole group of professionals out there who actively use Plus to promote their trade. For many, it's like an alternate blogging platform, so many cross post their blogs on Plus.

Sparks is another useful service on Plus. Add your interests to sparks, and get good volume of high quality content on that interest. You may even find interesting people to follow.

One of the issues with integrating all Google services with Plus however, is that Plus so far has many wrinkles, which need to be ironed out. For example, photographs in Plus do not include licensing information, which was displayed in Picasa Web. At the same time, I'm not aware of any method to +1 any one picture from an album. Similarly, Google uses comments to mark stories as top stories, so posts with a high volume of comments can easily occlude newer posts which have a lower volume of comments. Frankly, I think this is stupid, as anyone would logically stop looking for posts once he reaches posts he has seen before.



Some tips to improve your experience on Plus. Exercise caution with mutual circling, i.e. don't circle someone just because they have circled you. You are under no obligation to do so. Look at their public posts, read the about me section, then add them, if you find their content interesting. There is no use adding people who just reshare a particular person's work. However, there may be some who reshare a well edited bouquet of posts on topics that you may find interesting. If so, don't hesitate to circle them, hey, after all, high quality content is all that matters. Report spam, or abuse. Remember, Google does not allow nudity, obscenity, violence, hatred etc. in posts on Plus. Report them. Improve the experience for others.

Now, just try to apply the same logic to your contribution on Plus. Have a good profile, describing yourself, add a good profile picture (of yourself, why hide your face), as a picture is the first thing someone would notice (after all, we recognize people with their faces). Have a moderate amount of content, and make sure that some of it is public, for the benefit of those who may not be in your circles. Limit private posts to private circles, but it's fun to engage with people you don't know, to provide them with content. If you are the reticent kind (like I am), try and get over the barrier, but exercise caution. Do not make public the posts that reveal too much information about yourself, or any private content. Also, pay attention to the circles you share content with when you post. By default, the post is shared with those with whom you shared last with. If you forget this, you might just make one of the biggest reply-all gaffes in history (wink).

So, welcome to Plus. If you are a Google user, chances are that you have already been included in the Plus community. Enjoy the Plus experience.

Popular posts from this blog

Progressive Snapshot: Is it worth it?

I turned 25 last year, which in the highly mathematical and calculating eyes of the US insurance industry meant that I had suddenly matured into a much more responsible driver than I was at 24 years and 364 days of age. As a result, I expected my insurance rates to go down. Imagine my surprise when my insurance renewal notice from GEICO actually quoted a $50 increase in my insurance rates. To me, this was a clear signal that it was time to switch companies.Typically, I score really high on brand loyalty. I tend to stick with a brand for as long as possible, unless they really mess up. This qualified as a major mess up. As a result, I started shopping for insurance quotes.Two companies that quoted me significantly lower rates (30%–40% lower) were Progressive and Allstate. Both had an optional programme that could give me further discounts based on my consenting to the companies tracking my driving habits. Now, I am a careful driver – I hardly ever accelerate hard. I hate using the brak…

Cornell Graduate Students United: At What Cost?

On Monday and Tuesday, we graduate students at Cornell will be voting on whether or not we want to unionise. Actually, scratch that, only graduate students who hold a TA, RA, or GRA appointment can unionise.This is a shitty arrangement, and I will be voting against it.For those of you who are not aware of how graduate school works at Cornell, you could be on one of many appointments.FellowshipA graduate student on a fellowship gets a stipend and tuition paid without associated teaching or research opportunities. Graduate students on a fellowship typically work towards their own theses, but will be excluded from the unionGraduate research assistantshipsA GRA gives a graduate student stipend and tuition without teaching responsibilities. However, this money comes out of a specific project grant, and the students typically work on their own theses. Students on GRAs magically qualify to join the union, whereas there is virtually no difference between a GRA and a fellowship for the most pa…

Build those noise cancelling headphones

So, here's another DIYLet me start by putting the cart before the horse. I shall start with the credits. This project was done while I was working on my Electronics Design Lab, along with my friends, Srujan M and Indrasen Bhattacharya. The work would not have been possible without the generous help received from the staff at Wadhwani Electronics Laboratory, who ensured that the only thing we did right was to leave the lab on time. This project would also not have been possible without the guidance of our dear and learned professors. It would probably have just about become additional dead weight on the head.Enough with the credits, now, I need to dive right into noise cancellation and how it works.The essence of sound is a pressure wave. The pressure wave, when incident on the eardrum sets into motion the complex mechanisms inside the ear, and after a long path, rather like the Cog advertisement, ends up making some nerves vibrate. The nerves send electrical signals to the brain, …