Turning inner space into outer space

July 26, 2011

Google Plus could do to Facebook what Facebook did to MySpace

Thanks to Daily News publisher Tim Shoults, I received an invitation to Google Plus and I’ve had a chance to explore. At first blush, it looks like Facebook has some serious competition.

It took me a long time to get into Facebook — not because I have anything against it, but because it always seemed like a confusing mess. I kept telling myself that if hundreds of millions of people around the world could figure it out, then surely I could too. It may have also been a problem of motivation. If you really, truly want to do something (and in the case of Facebook, I didn’t), you’ll find a way.

Which brings us to Google Plus and the ultimate compliment I can find for it: if this had been the way Facebook was organized, I would have joined a lot sooner. Google Plus has a nice, clean interface with none of the Facebook clutter and ugly design choices. And while it might seem overwhelming at first, there are clear and simple instructions that will have you up and running in no time. I’m betting there is a lot of scrambling going on at Facebook headquarters as they try to match Google Plus features.

So does that mean I’m about to become an avid Google Plus user? Probably not. I’m reluctant to use it for the same reason I’m leery of Facebook. Both provide great ways of keeping in touch with friends, but the cost may be too high. Just have a look at all the details you can fill in for your profile. We’re told that this information will help other people find you and extend your circle of friends. What they don’t tell you is that this information will be aggregated and sold to advertisers eager to know our every move, every interest and every purchase.

Admittedly, my Safeway card does much the same thing on a smaller scale. Still, the idea of my life being turned into a commodity is unsettling.