I’ve been using Google+ for a few days now, my first impressions are positives. I find the experience to be generally smooth, the layout is well balanced and just pleasant. This is the first time ever that Google produces a UI that I find polished, and they might even not be done with it yet. I think the recent UI refresh was the tipping point that makes it really palatable for most. By making Circles an opt-in, they’ve finally nailed it – though I’ve read Scoble a few times – who hasn’t ;-).
What took them so long? Why couldn’t Google do this 3 or 4 years ago?
There’s still the geeky stuff in there though, “Stream” for example is not really meaningful to everyone but the nerds.
Circles is a feature that I have always found missing on the social media sites that I’ve used so far. Google+ might even be powered by Buzz and/or Wave, two products that they clearly forgot to put a UI on, but that need not matter.
Speaking of beta, there is no mention of that on the site. So this may be a break from the tradition of keeping a perpetual beta label on their products. It may also be a sign that people no longer pay attention to the “beta” label, folks run production stuff on any odd alpha release they can lay their hands on.
Facebook killer, or Twitter killer, or whatever-killer, that is not for me to say. I tend to think that those “… killer” are overblown 9 out of 10. But I think Google+ will find a daily use for lots of people, and that may be what they are looking for, that may be what they need. The question is though, will they really learn the real lesson here: which is to keep innovating for people, not just besides them.
I like what I’ve seen so far. Let’s see where they take it from here. Whatever thinking framework allowed them to build this, would do wonders if correctly nurtured.