21 September 2011

Google + (and minus)

I have been using Google + for a couple months now and, since I am not a fan of «social media» sites, I was dragged kicking and screaming to it. I have been working on a large video project and after rejecting several other solutions, my partner on the contract with me decided to use this new service to communicate.

Setting up this service could have been a lot more intuitive, it wasn’t clear what functions there were nor how to use them. When they were sorted out, we found several very helpful, however. Being able to insert images, links and movies (which are re-formatted via Youtube) let us put what we were working on in one place with our comments and questions. Setting up a «circle» for us to comment on and another for the client to access gave us the ability to freely comment between ourselves and to have «filtered» comments the clients can’t see. This is essential on a big project in case there are disagreements and on a more practical level, to talk about technical stuff that, frankly, the clients wouldn’t understand.

Problems were many, and quite serious. The most damning one is that the notifications when a comment or response is left in a circle, the email was often either not sent or sent a fairly long time after the comment was made. Some comments also never appeared on the site at all. This makes it unreliable for serious conversations.

As for the «social» aspects like video conferences etc, I can’t speak to them as we didn’t use them and frankly, like all social site gimmicks, they don’t interest me. Google also insisted I give them my phone number to use the service, which really bugs me and makes me very suspicious as to what my personal info will be used for.

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