Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Update on Google+

Google+ continues to be an interesting place to talk about genealogy. The number people in my genealogical Circles continues to increase, while the number of people in regular circles has stagnated. So, it appears that the "what the cat ate today" crowd has yet to migrate from Facebook. I am wondering if other focused groups have found a home on Google+?

I noticed that Google added a lot of their other programs to the Google+ pull down menu. Many of these other programs are extremely useful, but have limited exposure on Google's regular interface as they reside under the "More" menu. I find few casual users of Google who have ever explored all of the programs available. Just in case you are in that category, I find the following programs useful in my overall use of the Internet and in doing genealogical research:
  • Translate
  • Maps
  • Gmail (of course)
  • Books
  • Shopping
  • Reader (of course)
  • Blogger (of course)
One thing I have noticed about Google+ is that some of the "Suggestions" for people to add to your Circles are not appropriate at all. They are not people from any of my Gmail contact lists or people who have added me or have something in common with me and appear to be even objectionable in some instances. I also get a constant offer to add myself to my Circles which is a little strange.

Because of the focused nature of the Circles, I really do look at the Stream from time to time which I almost never do in Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, I just got another wedding announcement over the Internet with the the intended couple using Facebook to "promote" their wedding and wedding reception. Of the many strange customs evolving through the online world, this is one of the strangest. There is an implication that if you aren't on Facebook, you aren't part of their social group. In my experience, the people who are most likely to come to a wedding and especially a wedding reception are first, family and then friends of the family. My experience is that few people have a significant circle of friends alone to have a very successful reception. Another group of people who are likely to attend a wedding are those who are socially connected through church. Some of the biggest (most attended) wedding receptions I have attended are for the children of public figures, i.e. politicians, large or influential property owners, etc. How does Facebook replace or even augment these social organizations? What likelihood is there that your father's business associates will attend a wedding through a Facebook invitation? Is this just another indication of the collapse of our society?

Oh, well, as yet, I haven't received a wedding invitation through Google+. Another interesting phenomena on Google+ is the +1 thing. It corresponds to the thumbs up or down on Facebook, but seems to be quite randomly used on Google+. I have been posting my daughters' Family Heritage Recipes posts from time to time. They actually do about one or two a day. These posts seem to get a lot more +1s than anything else I do. Maybe there is a message there that I am in the wrong business, maybe I should be cooking instead of doing genealogy?

I think that Google+ will have a greater impact in the long run on genealogy, than Facebook. Now that every company and every product in the world has a Facebook page, I think Facebook has become like a noisy background, to be mostly ignored. Google+ is sort of like when cable TV started. Facebook is like the major broadcasting networks, that is, the only game in town. But now we have Google+ which is like having cable TV. When was the last time you really watched just the major networks? But now, I am almost totally migrated away from even cable TV. Almost all my media comes over the Internet, including TV shows and whatever. I don't see Google+ as killing Facebook as much as I see Google+ marginalizing Facebook.

Google+ isn't the end of the changing online process, it is merely another in a long line of innovations that will affect us all.

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