Thursday, June 30, 2011

First Thoughts on Google+

So Google finally decided to release its "Facebook killer" that they were once going to call "Google Me" but which now is Google+. On the second day of its beta release, I managed to get an invite from a fellow FriendFeeder, so now I'm in on it and get to check it out. These are my initial impressions.

It was a no-brainer for me to accept the invitation, since I already have so much stuff on Google, at Picasa, YouTube, Google Docs, and so on. Looking at the main stream, I can see it has a lot in common with FriendFeed and the Facebook news feed. But the toolbar at the top (below the black main bar) gives you easy access to photos; others' in your stream as well as your own at Picasa (which you can even upload); your Google profile (mine has not just my Plus posts and the "about me" section, but my Picasa photos, the videos I haven't yet uploaded, and my Google Buzz stream); and the new Circles feature, which happens to be the best implementation of a "lists" feature I've ever seen, which even takes care of the privacy problems that have long plagued Facebook. There's a video chat feature called Hangout, and an option to download all your Google data (currently limited to Picasa and Google+ itself) if you want to back it up.

So far, so good. Of course, I'm only beginning to find my way through Google+. There's still the issue of the learning curve; it's still new. There's still a lot of glitches that have to be worked out. And it's still invitation-only. But then, it's still in beta. Hopefully Google will work out the glitches before it goes into full release, and put it into full release a lot sooner than they did Wave. But if one thing's for sure, I'm already using it a lot more than I do Facebook.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Culling Blogs I Follow

After some heavy editing of my novel (the second draft of my novel is now up to chapter 4 of the ebook), I decided on a whim to cull some blogs I follow from the Google Friend Connect list I access from my Blogger dashboard. Now, I started this blog, along with my project blog, back in March '08. In the three years since then, a lot of blogs have been orphaned and/or discontinued. I myself have a music blog I haven't updated in two years.

And so I went to my Blogger dashboard and checked the blogs I follow to see which ones are no longer updated. I found several, of course, some of which haven't been updated in more than a year. I even discovered a site among them that no longer exists. So I removed them from my follow list.

I actually learned a valuable lesson from this. If you want more people to follow your blogs, update them more often. Needless to say, it's a good idea to offer valuable content, even if it's just the personal stuff you think can interest other people. Be interesting, update often, and people won't lose interest in you.

The challenge, of course, is always figuring out what to write about...