Tuesday, Google launched a new social-media service called Google+ that almost none of you can use. A long blog post by engineering vice president Vic Gundotra about Google+ touts such flexible info-sharing options as “Circles,” “Hangouts” and “Sparks,” then offers an apologetic note in red, italicized text in the third-to-last paragraph:
We’re beginning in Field Trial, so you may find some rough edges, and the project is by invitation only.
Well, then. A notice on the Plus sign-in page comforts shut-out users that “it won’t be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone,” but in the meantime you may face a Twitter stream full of invited Plus users yammering on about the service and whether it’s a Facebook killer or just a Tumblr killer.
(Google has refrained from describing Plus as a killer of anything. Good idea: Calling your new product a “[fill in the blank] killer” usually guarantees its imminent demise in the market. Just ask all the companies that bragged about their iPod, iPhone and iPad killers.)
After an initial rebuff by Google’s PR agency and a subsequent appeal to a contact in the Mountain View, Calif., company’s D.C. office, I’m told that I have an invite on the way. (Disclosure: I’ve spoken at a couple of Google events.) When that arrives, I’m certainly interested to see how Plus works–and if it lives up to the hype or will flop just as badly as the enigmatic, since-shelved Google Wave communications application or the initially privacy-deprived Buzz sharing service. And yet: Since I probably won’t find my closer friends on Plus–and can’t extend them an invite–I’d only use a subset of its capabilities.
It’s not an easy question, but I’d like to know what you think. Should I join the in crowd and review Google+ for Discovery or anybody else? Or should I direct my attention this week to something that you can use without getting on a guest list? (The likeliest candidate: HP’s new TouchPad tablet.) Take the poll and explain your vote in the comments.
Update, 7/1, 12:41 p.m. Thanks for your votes. I went ahead with the Google+ first-take analysis, which you can now read on Discovery’s site.