Episode 3: Plus

Episode 3: Plus

This week on the Scatterbrain podcast, I talk about my first impressions of Google+ and how it compares to Facebook and Twitter, I consider what I like about it and where I think they need to make changes discussing the design, privacy and integration with other services. I also talk about how I foresee it fitting into my social graph.

Why Google+ Looks Good: Original Macintosh Team Member Andy Hertzfeld
This Week In Google 101: Inside Google+
This Week In Google 102: Relatively Awesome
This is my next Podcast 014 – 07.09.2011

+Huw Martin

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In a new study done by the Pew Research Center, collections of data from thousands of participants showed that people who use social networking services are now not only likely to have larger networks than those who don’t, but also have more close friends. The authors of the study don’t cite technology as the cause of our newfound friendliness, but those inclined toward social connections are now more likely to be online and networking than not.

I can vouch for that.

(via Practical Opacity)

Is The Facebook Communication Hub Set To Fail?

Facebook recently launched their latest feature for the social network: the brand spanking new Facebook Messaging System. At the moment it’s invite only but it looks to become a key feature of Facebook. Reading a great round up of the pro’s and con’s at LifeHacker, two points really stuck out for me so i’m just going to chat on about them. For the full monty just go over to the articles at LifeHacker, have a browse and make your own decision on what you think.

Facebook’s aim is to centralize your text-based communication into a single location, much like Google Voice has done for voice communication. It doesn’t really matter what device you’re using or how you want to communicate because Facebook will continue the conversation through the most applicable channel. You can switch computers and devices or modes of communication and Facebook will adjust right along with you.

If you’re skeptical of the usefulness of a centralized messaging hub, you don’t need to look much further than your smartphone to see how well it can work. Smartphones are great communication tools because they’re capable of combining all different types of communication (email, SMS, IM, voice calls/voicemail) into one easy-access location. Facebook’s new messaging service is attempting to lift this paradigm but bring it not just to your smartphone but your desktop or laptop computer as well.

It all comes down to trust, really, lot’s of people will cringe at the idea of Facebook becoming the central hub of their communication with anyone and everyone, but if i’m honest I wouldn’t have an issue with it. We already hand over so much information to Facebook they may as well put it to some use that will benefit the end user, I have a Hotmail account, a Gmail account, a Facebook account of course, and my phone which I obviously regularly receive text messages from. To have everything from all of those sources in one place would definitely be of convenience; i’m logged into Facebook whenever i’m connected to the internet so to be notified by Facebook whenever I get a text would definitely be useful considering I don’t check my phone too often - it’s a horrible old Nokia, hoping to splash out on a WP7 device next year when the prices come down. A lot of people will disagree with me that the Facebook communication hub (as i’m going to call it from now on) is a good thing, but that’s fine, it’s going to be opt-in anyways, if you have a problem with it, there doesn’t have to be a problem. As always the communication hub is going to be for people who want more.

Although I completely agree that the Facebook communication hub is the way forward, reading the con’s there was one point that just made me go: ‘Damn, that’s true.’

According to a report from last year by DNS service OpenDNS, Facebook was the second most commonly blocked web site on the internet, second to MySpace. You won’t find an email provider among that top 10 list.

That doesn’t mean that every workplace blocks Facebook or that no workplaces block Gmail, but the prerequisite to communication is access, and a lot of people who can’t access Facebook from work can still access their email accounts. In theory, Facebook Messages could get around this problem by sending you messages via SMS, but unless you want to do all your “emailing” from your phone, that’s not much of a solution.

The new Facebook communication hub is based on the key principle that all of your communication sources are aggregated in one place, emails, private messages, texts. I’m sure many working citizens will argue this will help their productivity but of course most workplaces, schools, colleges, pretty much anywhere (apart from Facebook HQ): will disagree. So, with most companies having already blocked Facebook, this feature is crippled before it’s even been officially launched. I think it’s a great feature, but with Facebook’s bad track record on user privacy and it’s bad reputation in the workplace for time wasting, the communication hub is going to have a hard time taking off.

Saw this the other day, and it looks undeniably cool! Looks to be the best 3rd party browser i’ve seen in a long while. I’ve already applied to ‘Get early access!’ on the website. I love the fact it’s built on Google Chrome, the interface looks really nice and clean. It also appears to have some pretty nice features as well as the social aspect allowing users to easily update their statuses, tweet or share content on the social networking sites supported. By the looks of it the other big feature of RockMelt is that it keeps track of your favorite sites and alerts you when there are new updates through push notifications which i’m very excited about. My perception of it is that its a very ‘live’ browser like social networks are themselves, it updates you instantly when there are changes to the websites you like and keeps you up to date with the people your interested in. It should shape up to be a pretty amazing browser, once it gets released of course…

I don’t though think Safari - or any of the other major browsers for that matter - will see RockMelt as a threat, like someone else has said: Safari is stable, it’s for the average Mac user in the same way the average PC user sadly uses Internet Explorer. For the people who want a little more out of their browser, RockMelt is there. I do though think this release will hit Flock - another popular social web browser - hard. RockMelt just has to dashing young looks Flock doesn’t, and once RockMelt add’s support for more social networks, I think Flock will be dead in the water. Huwbert out.



Rockmelt - A new way to surf

Remember Marc Andreessen?  Yeah, he’s got a hand in this. Looks quite cool.

Suddenly Safari looks boring.