30 July, 2011

Google Plus - familiar territory


I had a look at Google Plus. (Here's their tour.) My initial reaction is: hmm, all sounds very familiar. Midentity (social software start-up that I co-founded that ran between 2002 and 2006) had many of the attributes of Google Plus.

A key concept of Midentity was the ability to divide one's network of contacts into sub-groups. Midentity believed that you shared different content about yourself, based on the identity that you presented to them: Business, University friends, close buddies, tennis club, in-laws, etc.

In this way, you could share content appropriately and selectively with others in a way that is relevant to your connections. ie Google Circles.

Midentity's go-to-market service was a group text messaging service called Circles (text your message to your Circle's number, then the service delivered your message to all participants; if a participant replied, the reply went to all). ie Google's Huddle.

And yes, we were heavily focussed on mobile (the name Midentity stood for My Identity and Mobile Identity) and we experimented integrating with some instant upload features using early version of Shozu's phone software. ie Google Instant Upload.

Techcrunch carried an article, When Google Circles Collide, about how the author, Rocky Agrawal, uses multiple products to selectively share his content with his followers.

Do scroll down the article to heading 'The unsolved social network problem' in the article.

Streams of Content
The biggest unsolved problem in social networking remains unsolved with Google+: separating signal from noise. Twitter, it seems, doesn’t even want to try.

One person I follow on Twitter actually tags most of his posts. I’m interested in his content on tech, business and aviation. But I couldn’t care less about his Chicago tweets


I totally agree that this has become one of the pains of social networks – finding the updates that matter.

Actually, this is the reason why I purchased this stream121 domain – as I envisaged the problem in 2005 – the problem of filtering everyone else's content that's relevant to an individual. ie Google Sparks.

With that said, I have never gone out to solve this problem....... An opportunity lost? Yes for sure, but I always believed that the identity problem was a more fundamental one to solve.

(Apologies that this entry was so long in the making - it was stuck in draft mode for some unknown reason.)

3 comments:

Oleg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oleg said...

Yes, Google+ is backwards

Arthur said...

I disagree, Oleg, my friend.

Simply tagging content with labels means that your contacts have constantly add your ever growing tag list to their interests - ie practically impossible.

However, this approach is too granular. I want to separate my contact list into clumps of people that that are exclusive from each other: mates from university, work, my cousins etc.

As you go through life, you connect with more people, for different reasons: work contacts don't care about your sporting interests and vice versa.

See the last paragraph of this blog post, Email is for old people, which agrees that email is for old people, only because twitter, facebook only works if you have a nice, simple one dimensional life!

Now, I admit that the subscriber to your feeds needs a filter (based on their interests)....