The more I use Google+ the more I can see shades of various other social services from the web creeping in.
Yes, much of the discussion around Google+ has been about how Facebook-like it is, or how Twitter-like it is (mainly the more public nature of it). I’ve personally even drawn some comparisons to StumbleUpon, with the Google+ Sparks feature. It’s executed much differently, but both services are essentially content discovery tools that show you various content related to pre-determined topics picked by you.
When we first started using Google+, naturally many of flocked to see what the influencers were saying. The early adopters and high profile Internet personalities that we’re already familiar with, and yes, just like on most other channels, they had interesting things to say (much like they have done on Quora). Some of them still do.
While this was probably true from the beginning, but only continues to become more apparent as the service grows with use by more of the “average joe” crowd if you will, I’m seeing a lot more Internet silliness permeate the streams. A lot more animated gifs, funny cat pictures, etc. Interestingly, many of these are being shared by Googlers themselves.
I’m limiting this to my own experience, and that may be very well different from yours, but I’m seeing a lot of stuff that seems like something I would be more likely to see in the comments sections of MySpace profiles.
The Chatroulette angle comes in with the Hangouts feature of course. I’m pretty sure that has occurred to me in the past, but the point really sank in again for me today as I was browsing my “Google” circle, where I noticed Google’s Jeff Drost hosting a public hangout. He commented, “This hangout is public. Is it publicly discoverable? I was expecting some chatroulette creeps, not you guys.”
What’s to stop the pervs from penetrating a public hangout to “chatroulette” the place up (Anyone else using that as a verb yet?)?
Note: If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check the “controversial content” section of this Wikipedia entry.
Yes, that would be against against Google’s rules, but I’m pretty sure it was against Chatroulette’s rules as well. At least after they had to make those rules because so many people engaged in this kind of behavior.
Can users be banned? Sure. Ask William Shatner. But that doesn’t mean they won’t just start another profile. Of course, they wouldn’t have to be crashing any parties either. There’s always Cirlces…”hangouts”.
Speaking of Google’s rules on this kind of behavior, here is the relevant section of the content policy:
Do not distribute content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Do not drive traffic to commercial pornography sites.
Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content. For example, do not use a photo that is a close-up of a person’s buttocks or cleavage.
“Close-up” isn’t defined, but apparently cleavage is ok in non-profile pictures (even if the post is public) if it’s far enough away and it helps shape the O’s in a Google logo, as we learned when Tom Anderson (of your-first-friend-on-MySpace fame) made the following post (as shared by Googler Katie Watson) yesterday:
Either way, the point is that Google+ is more than just a Facebook clone, as some may like to chalk it up as. People are already using it in many different ways, and as more integrations come (with other Google products, and with third-party apps through an API), we’re only going to see use cases increase as well.