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Facebook Will Not Allow Google+ Ads, So Don’t Even Try It!

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You might have seen this story over the weekend where Michael Lee Johnson ran an add on Facebook asking people to add him to their Google+ account. What happened? Facebook removed the ad after only an hour and also suspended his entire advertising account with them.

Ouch Facebook. Ouch.

Here’s the email Johnson received from Facebook after his account was suspended, which he posted on his Google+ profile:

Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.

The moral of the story: Don’t try to advertise a Facebook competitor on Facebook.

What was Johnson’s message to Facebook on his Google+ posting?

P.S; Facebook – You Suck.

He’s deleted his personal Facebook account, but not the one he uses for work.

Do you think Facebook is justified in deleting the ad and suspending his entire account?

Source: ReadWriteWeb

101 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Google+

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Today, I have a special edition for Brilliant Bloggers for you all – on the subject that absolutely everybody that seems to writing about: Google+. Since this new social media platform is brand new, I didn’t single out anyone’s posts like I usually do, but instead groups them into topic areas. If you wrote a post about Google+ as well that I missed, believe me, it was definitely unintentional/ Please feel free to comment with a link to your post!

And yes, for the record, it took me 20+ hours to compile this list of resources. I lost count after realizing that I hadn’t showered or eaten all day Sunday as I was finishing. Thank you everyone who made my job a little easier by sending in links! If it’s your first visit here, you might want to follow me on Twitter @allison_boyer – I do link round-ups at least once a week and ask for submissions by topic on Twitter, so it’s a good way to make sure I don’t miss your post. And also so you can remind me to shower when you notice I’ve been on Twitter too many consecutive hours.

Guides and How-To Posts

Photos on Google+

Google+ Circles

Google+ versus Facebook and Twitter

Google+ and SEO

Google+ Hangouts

Google+ for Businesses

Other Google+ Opinions

Videos about Google+

Other Great Google+ Link Round-Ups

Again, if I missed your post, please leave a comment below with a link – the more bloggers who share, the better this resource list will be! And for the record, yes, I’ve since showered, much to the relief of my roommate and cat.

Bob Caswell “What if You Had the Idea of Google+ Circles Three Years Ago?”

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Bob Caswell, a product manager at Microsoft, asked an interesting question on his Google+ stream. He asked, “What if you had the idea of Google+ “Circles” three years ago but decided to pursue other interests?”

Well, maybe I’d be writing this from the beach in Tahiti? Who knows.

Come to find out, Caswell did have an idea very similar to Google+ Circles but being the cautious entrepreneur he is, it stayed just that – an idea. In a post on his personal blog (which he didn’t point to his Google+ stream like some tech bloggers have done), he talked about a project he worked on while he was a student at Purdue University. It was called iPrivacyManager or “iPM”.

You can read some snippets from his business plan here, but the paragraph which is most interesting is this one:

Currently, user profiles posted on Facebook and other sites are potentially accessible in an identical way by a wide range of acquaintances, who are typically kept separate in real life (employers, coworkers, fellow students/alumni, friends, family, and relatives).

So, although there was no mention of “circles”, the main jest of them is there. What’s the moral of this story? Here it is in Bob Caswell’s own words:

I have been asked what the moral of the story is and thought I’d add a mini-epilogue here. For me, this is the story of entrepreneurship often untold. You have to give up a lot for the hopes of a nice pay off, and the odds are against you. But what happens when you go with a decision where the odds are in your favor?I’m cautious by nature, so also being entrepreneurial is a bit of a paradox. But I have no regrets on this. I think being cautious worked out well for me, actually. That said, if you choose the cautious route, be prepared for someone else to do exactly what you were planning (in my case, Google!).

Do you think the world was ready for Google+ 3 years ago? Heck, is it ready for it now?

Prominent Tech Bloggers Point Domain Names to Google+ Streams

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With the launch of Google+, it’s stirring up questions about whether or not blogging as a form of personal expression is dead. With prominent tech bloggers such as Kevin Rose (founder of Digg) and Bill Gross (founder of Idealab) shutting down their blogs and pointing their domain names to their Google+ streams, it definitely makes you wonder.

Go ahead. Type in www.kevinrose.com and see where it leads you. Yep, right here – https://plus.google.com/u/0/110318982509514011806/posts – to his Google+ stream.

What’s Mr. Rose’s reasoning behind this move? He said, “G+ gives me more (real-time) feedback and engagement than my blog ever did”.

Google+ not only allows users to interact with their friends, share links and interesting finds, but it also allows you to blog at length. Obviously blogs in general aren’t dead, but it seems their original purpose may be. Now of course, bloggers who monetize their personal blogs wouldn’t make a switch like this, but the ones who solely use it for self-expression just might,

What do you think? Is Google+ changing the blogosphere as we know it?

Google+ Reaches 10 Million Users

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It’s the greatest growth in social media ever. Google+ has reached 10 million users! Just this past Saturday (July 9th), its numbers were at 7.3 million and if the invite button stays active, the prediction is it could reach 20 million users by this weekend.

What do these numbers show us exactly? It shows people are curious as to what another social network has to offer. It shows the demand for another social network is obviously there. Yes, Facebook has 750 million users, half of who log on daily, but the Google+ numbers seem to show it has a fair chance of surviving and staying a fierce competitor.

Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab, is very impressed with the growth of Google+. In fact, he’s made his own numbers prediction in this post.

I predict that Google+ will go from 0 to 100,000,000 users faster than any other service in history.

Okay, that’s a bold proclamation – here’s why I think it will achieve that.

The service is great. It is timely. People are engaging with it like crazy. There are rumors that there are already 4.5m people. That might be high. It might be as low as 1m, or even lower, but my guess is that it’s more than 1m people already. That already is probably the fastest growing service (0 to 1m) ever. Now it’s not completely fair, since when Facebook started, and when Twitter started, etc. those were tiny companies, and Google is huge. However, the product is extremely well executed, and a lot of people are smitten.

The next year will tell. Will there be bumps in the road? Sure. Will Facebook and Twitter fight back with more innovation? Of course! But I’m saying that Google+ is already good enough, and the team on Google+ is being so responsive in a way that makes me believe they have a real winner here.

Let me know what you think. Am I being too optimistic? I can’t wait to see how this next year in Social Networking plays out.

What do you think about the growth of Google+?

Why Google+ Circles Might Suck

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Yes, you read that correctly. One of the main draws to Google+ is their intuitive “circle” system of listing your friends together into groups. It’s a feature that I see people repeatedly saying is one of the best things about this new social media platform. And while I agree that at first glance, the Google+ circle system had me ooo’ing and ahhhh’ing just like everyone else, as I’ve started to use the system more and more, I’m not sold. Yes, I think the circles might even suck.

Okay, before all you loyal Google fans freak out…I said might. As in “maybe they suck.” Or at least, “maybe they suck for some people.” Google+ is so new that the jury is still out on this one. But let me at least tell you a little about my experiences and how I think the Google+ system is slightly…okay, really…flawed.

A Twitter Approach to Networking

Let’s start at the very beginning.

One of the characteristics of Google+ that I really like is that you don’t have to be mutual friends to follow someone. Of course, everyone is able to control what anyone else sees, but if I like your blog and you have no idea who I am, I can still follow you and read whatever you decide to make public. You don’t have to follow me back. It’s very similar to Twitter in that respect, but with more levels of privacy. Awesome.

I like this because, frankly, I don’t like everyone who likes me. While that might sound harsh on a personal level, the fact of life is that you could be doing things that are really interesting to other people, but that doesn’t mean that other people are doing things that are really interesting to you – and that’s okay. I blog about blogging…and while that topic is relevant to Suzy who blogs about parenting and Donald who blogs about cars, I’m don’t have kids, nor do I care about my car beyond keeping it well maintained. So, Suzy and Donald can follow me, and I’m not pressured to clutter my stream with updates that are irrelevant. Awesome.

But Wait…Isn’t the Circle System Supposed to Cut Down on Clutter?

Yes. Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s working that way.

When I add someone to my circles, I break things down pretty well (at least, I think I do). Right now, I have a circle for my best friends in real life, so I can update them about plans for happy hour. I also have a circle for BlogWorld folk, so we can talk about behind the scenes plans if we wish, as well as circles for gamers (one of my main interests) and for social media professionals and bloggers. As more people join, I will probably break down those categories even more. But just because I’ve created a pretty well-planned circle system doesn’t mean that others have.

If Suzy the parenting blogger follows me, for example, she might not use circles as well as I do. Maybe she has people who blog lumped into one circle, for example, regardless of whether they blog about blogging or blog about parenting. Or maybe she puts me in a random circle called “people I met at BlogWorld” – which isn’t very relevant unless BlogWorld is going on or we’re talking about the event afterward. In other words, people do not necessary create circles based on the topics they talk about. People are more likely to organize their circles based on the streams they want to see, not what makes sense for updating. My needs for these two ways of organizing people are very different.

The Public Problem

But all of that doesn’t really matter because of what I like to call the “public” problem.

Remember the first point I made, about how I like that you don’t have to be mutual friends? Well, the only way that really works is if people update publicly, at least occasionally. For bloggers, that’s not really much of a problem. If you’re looking at Google+ as a promotional tool, or even if you just use it as a way to gain ideas from like-minded people, allowing everyone to read your updates makes sense.

For example, earlier today, I talked about a project I was working on for bloggers. While it is relevant to my social media/blogging group most (and not, for example, my gamer friends), it might also be relevant to my followers that I’m not following…and it’s not sensitive information, so I want everyone to be able to see it.

The problem is, because I updated it to the general public, everyone saw it, even my gamer circle. It doesn’t matter if I pick Public and add other circles. The fact that I’ve chosen to make the update public means that everyone can see it.

And most of us bloggers what as much to be public as possible. Unless it contains information that is only relevant to everyone in a specific group (like plans for happy hour with local friends), it makes sense to connect with fans by making your updates public. If that’s the case though, if that’s how we use Google+, it really isn’t any different from using Twitter. You aren’t actually filtering anything for any circle.

A Solution?

I don’t like to complain about problems unless I can think of a solution…and while I’m not sure there are easy ones or even perfect ones, here’s what I think would work better than the current circle system:

The solution to the public problem is pretty easy. When you make something public, it should show up only for people who aren’t your mutual friends. They should be your default public group. If you want other groups to see it, you should have to pick public plus whatever circles are relevant. That would make Google+ so much better, with that one little change.

The second part of the solution, in my opinion, would be to have two levels of circles – private circles and public circles. Private circles would be sort-of what you see now – when you follow someone you add them to a circle to create different streams for yourself. It’s simply a way to organize your streams, similar to Twitter lists. I would actually like to see the option, like with Twitter, for you to make these lists known (if you want to) so that other people can follow everyone you have categorized a certain way. I find some of the best people on Twitter by browsing others’ lists.

Public circles would be more of an “opt in” type of system for updates. Where your private circles would be for people you want to follow, your public circles would be for people who want to follow you. You would list off any topics you discuss regularly and people could add themselves to those lists to see updates in those categories from you. That way, as a follower, you can control what you see a little more easily. You’d use your public circles when you posted anything (again, private circles would just be for categorizing your own streams).

This works for two reasons. First, it allows you to opt out when you don’t like specific content that’s showing up in your stream, but don’t want to stop following a person completely. I could sign up for Suzie’s public blogging circle, but avoid her public parenting circle, even though with the current system, she just updated everyone at once. To go along with that, some people are really clogging up my stream right now. I don’t want to miss some of their updates about specific topics, so I continue to follow them, but I wish I could mute them with other topics so I could more easily read updates in my streams.

Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly from a promotional tool standpoint, it allows you to show someone you’re interested when they might have otherwise assumed that you don’t care. For example, under the current system, I might add Suzie to my blogging circle, never realizing that she’s actually really interested in gaming as well. I’m missing out on potential conversation with Suzie because I don’t know everything about her. Or maybe one of my gamer friends is interested in starting a blog – they’d be potential fans of mine if only I hadn’t excluded them from my blog-related updates.

With this system, I’d also like to see invite-only circles, which would kind of work the way hidden groups work on Facebook. They’d be for small groups of people who have specific reasons for talking to one another that don’t need to be public. Essentially, it would be a public circle, but one where you invite people to join (and they can say yes or no). For example, my local friends could all be in an invite-only circle so we could make dinner plans or the BlogWorld team could all be in an invite-only circle so we could speak about the event privately.

Again, my solutions might not be perfect, but I really do think that the circle system needs a little more thought. Right now, it is a good start, but I think one of the reasons I’m not completely loving Google+ yet is because it doesn’t offer me the level of control I really want…yet. It’s a step up from Facebook, to be sure, but I think it might still suck. At least a little, at least for right now.

Posting Photos on Google+: How the Terms of Service Impact You

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On Thursday night, when I got home from work, I planned to respond to a couple of quick emails and work out. But the viral nature of social media had other plans for me. When I started sifting through my inbox and Twitter DMs, there were a number of questions regarding an article that Scott Bourne posted on Photofocus. The article had people concerned that Google was, more or less, going to take away their ownership of any rights to their photographs once they were posted to Google+.

I want to note that Mr. Bourne’s article was largely misconstrued, by myself and others. I was extremely concerned by the way people were interpreting the article. I allayed the concerns that I could. The next day, Mr. Bourne published a second post that very specifically outlined his concerns as they related to professional photographers only. This clarified the specific points he wanted to make about the Terms of Service. I contacted Mr. Bourne to apologize for any snipey 140-character messages that I sent and he was happy to have his posts linked here.

What do the Google+Terms of Service mean to you? (The paragraph in question is Paragraph 11.) ¶ 11.1 states that you retain your copyright and any other rights that you hold in the content. Google is not taking away your copyright simply because you post a photo to Google+. This is how many people interpreted the TOS based on Mr. Bourne’s article. The terms do not assign Google any rights to your copyright in the image. You still own that copyright. It is still your image.

Like most social services, Google+ takes a non-exclusive license in the photo when you put it on their system. This also happens when you post a photo on Facebook. Or Foursquare. And Twitpic. Picplz, too. This has already been part of Google’s existing TOS for Picasa.

As Mr. Bourne pointed out in his post, the only time subset of the population that should concerned with the licensing aspects of these terms are professional photographers who have clients who want an exclusive license on an image. If that particular image has been posted on any of the services listed above, then there is already a non-exclusive license on that image. Accordingly, you cannot give an exclusive license to your client if there is already a non-exclusive license on the photo that cannot be revoked.

Here’s the lesson to be learned: Read the fine print carefully. For the vast majority of the population, there is no reason to panic over the Google TOS. Yet, an article published by a professional photographer caused that confusion. If you have images that you plan to use professionally and you plan to license exclusively, your safest bet is to refrain posting them from any social media sites unless you have consulted with an attorney and fully understand the terms of that particular site.

For me, as an amateur photographer, the Google+ TOS are pretty standard. I will post the same types of photos that I do on Facebook. And, when it comes to photos on Google+, maybe I am missing it, there is no way to tag embarrassing photos of friends yet, so that is a definite benefit of Google+ for now.

My Initial Google+ Impressions

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After whining to my Twitter followers (haha, sorry guys!), I finally found a sneaky backdoor way into the Google+ beta! I’ve been using it for about a day now, getting my profile set up and such, and although I know that I still have a lot to learn and Google will likely be making changes based on feedback in the coming months, I wanted to give you my initial impressions. If you’re in the beta, I hope you’ll leave a comment with your impressions as well.

  • It doesn’t seem crazy different from Facebook.

I do realize there are some differences, even some significant differences, but Facebook is really rooted in people’s minds that I’m not sure Google+ will overcome it…and I’m also not sure that there’s room for both. Maybe. After all, I don’t think Facebook will be king forever. I guess time will tell on that one. The thing is, while Facebook really is a “my generation” type of thing (I was a sophomore when our college got it, back in the day when it was limited), a lot of business owners and people older than me who aren’t into blogging/social media as a career are just now wrapping their heads around the benefits of Facebook. I worry that throwing another, similar network into the mix isn’t what the general public needs. I guess, I was hoping it would be really different from Facebook, like Twitter is, so it would be easier for people to understand the necessity (other than “Google wants to make money” of course!).

  • I like that you don’t have to be mutual friends.

I use Facebook almost exclusively for keeping in contact with friends and family. I share links I find interesting occasionally, but rarely do I do any kind of promotion on Facebook like I do on Twitter. One of the things I hate is when someone who I don’t know well (like a Twitter follower) tries to friend me on Facebook. I always feel like a jerk saying no, but I just don’t use Facebook as a blogging tool like I do with Twitter. With Google+, I like that you don’t have to be mutual friends. The person can simply add you similar to a Twitter follow and they’ll see all your public updates. Of course, if you have your Facebook privacy settings changed so that default is public, they could there as well, but you wouldn’t show up in their stream at all – they would have to manually check your page if you weren’t mutual friends.

  • Google+ cares about content creators. Thank god.

I’ve written before about the fact that you need to be careful how much you rely on Facebook – at the end of the day, Facebook is not your blog. That is, you don’t own it, and thus, the owner of the content you write there isn’t really you. Facebook could disappear tomorrow…with all your content and contacts. As the lovely Heather Solos pointed out to me earlier today, “I really like that under account overview they have Data Liberation, you can export all of your contacts, photos everything easily. Building that in from the start shows me they’ve at least been paying attention to concerns about data ownership.” Yes, yes, a million times yes.

That’s all I got…for now. I like Google+ initially, but I want to reserve my final judgment for after it is open to the masses. I think, for me, it will come down to this: will people (even non-social-media people) use it? If my Facebook friends migrate, I have to say that I’ll be on the Google+ train without looking back. If they don’t? Well, I’ll be kind miffed about having to check yet another site every day as part of my job.

Oh, also – a lot of people have written MUCH more eloquently than I have about Google+. Deb did a really great post round-up of links on Kommein, so head over and check out Google+: 50 Helpful Posts to Get You Started.

What do you think of Google+ so far?

Did You Get Your Google+ Invite?

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Yesterday, Google opened their first wave of invites for Google+. Did you get yours? Yeah, me neither. It appears they gave a few invites to the press, who were able to invite a few others to come test it out. (Some even figured out how to invite 500+ people.) For those of you unfamiliar with Google+, it basically turns Google into one giant social network.

After the floodgates of people accepting their Google+ invites opened, Google shut the door on anymore, at least for now. Here’s a note from Google:

We’ve shut down invite mechanism for the night. Insane demand. We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way. Thank you all for your interest!

For any who wish to leave, please remember you can always exit and take your data with you by using Google Takeout.

It’s your data, your relationships, your identity.

Mashable did a great write-up after testing out Google+ and you can check out their thoughts on it here. If you did get an invite and were able to test out Google+, feel free to give us your feedback on it in the comment section.

Google Announces the Google+ Project

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Google says that online sharing is “awkward” and even “broken” in a new blog post today and they aim to fix it. They announced the Google+ Project, which will make Google even better by “including you, your relationships, and your interests”.

Here’s a quick look at the Google+ Project.

The Google+ Project includes:

  • +Circles: share what matters, with the people who matter most
  • +Sparks: strike up a conversation, about pretty much anything
  • +Hangouts: stop by and say hello, face-to-face-to-face
  • +Mobile: share what’s around, right now, without any hassle
  • +You: putting you first, all across Google

Google +Circles really peaked my interest. Google found that people share selectively. What you share with your friends, you may not want to share with your family, which I couldn’t agree with more. The +Circles project allows you to share precisely with just the right people. Google says to “just make a circle, add your people, and share what’s new—just like any other day”.

For more in depth explanations and some entertaining videos, visit their blog post here. And of course, we would love to hear what you think about this new project!

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