I’ve been so focused on the user experience of Google’s new social network Plus that I haven’t thought very much about the big picture, I must admit. Listening tonight to an interview with Plus designer Joseph Smarr on the IEEE Podcast it became clear to me that for at least some of Plus’s leadership the goal is not to win social networking outright, or to kill any competitors, but to disrupt the social networking economy with a big enough, good enough and popular enough service that the walled gardens (Facebook in particular) are forced to open up interoperability enough that their users can communicate with the significant enough number of people in their lives that use a different social network. Back in the bad old days, customers of one phone network couldn’t call customers of other phone networks, then people couldn’t email out-of-network. Today people can’t be social across networks, but few people mind because everyone they care about is on Facebook. Plus is a big push to change that. Interoperability will be better for the open web and thus better for Google. It should also be better for consumer choice and satisfaction, in the long run. As long as Face-oogling or whatever doesn’t become as frustrating in the future as dealing with phone companies is today. But they do have interoperability!
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it this way before. I hope the plan works. One more cool thing about Plus.
I’d post a link to my Plus profile here but I wrote this whole post on my phone, sitting on the sidewalk in front of my house, in the dark. (Cutting sod that’s grown over my walkway.) I’m not hard to find there though and am lots of fun to talk to, I promise.