30. October 2013

Yesterday there were some pretty big announcements from Google about their own social network Google+ at the event they dubbed A Morning with Google+. Apparently the whole thing ran a bit late because of a power outage, causing a bit of sniggering from some people, but in the end Vic Gundotra was able to present the new updates to the Google+ system mainly revolving around photography. I must admit that I didn’t pay much attention to it since I don’t even use many of the tools, but when I watched the video later I was alternately fascinated and bored – and also felt a bit patronized.

The new features mainly revolve around things Google+ wants to make easier for the user – new video-editing possibilities with automatic enhancements and soundtrack creation, new auto-awesome animations for photos, an algorithm which automatically selects the “best” of your photos for you and much more. But this is really only for the ultra-casual user – Gundotra talks about how we take soooo many photos and we all have no time to sort through everything ourselves or do some necessary enhancements, so now Google+ will now do it for you. To be fair, the new online tools are only introduced as the first quick fix, because he also mentions the quite good Android photo editor Snapseed and for professionals the Nik Collection of filter tools, but the somewhat peculiar aftertaste is that Google wants to outsource creativity to the machine. I can understand Google’s motives and while I think the new features are impressive, they are not really for, let’s say, advanced amateur photographers like me.

But this is not what I actually wanted to write about in this posting. Another Google product manager, Otavio Silva, posted a much more important update: Google is rolling out real, name-based URLs for everyone right now. Up to now, only really important people were able to get a human-readable URL on Google+, everyone else just had a long number. Now you can finally get an address like – maybe this will be the last straw that kept many people from using Google+. The only problem is that at the moment this doesn’t happen automatically, instead you have to wait for some sort of notification via email or a message in your profile – I’m still waiting, while some of my G+ acquaintances already got their “vanity adresses”. But maybe I’m just a little impatient, after all I think I don’t need to worry that someone else snaps my name away since I’m pretty unique all over the internet!

[Update 31.10.: Sometime last night the email arrived and there was also a big blue announcement banner in my profile settings. I’m not a number anymore, now I’m -the old adress still works, but this is much more convenient!]

Bottom line: Google+ is still lightyears ahead of everyone else when it comes to inventiveness and engineering, although not all new features may be useful for everyone.

Kategorie: Google+
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