"They might have built an Internet-wide community of individuals who want to track, save, and share what they do on the web."
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Google!
Great opinion piece by Devin Coldewey on TechCrunch.
Devin says Google+ began on the wrong note by declaring that "Sharing is broken", which is startling because sharing isn't broken -- it's a work-in-progress.
So why did Google jump the gun? Devin writes:
The data! That beautiful, plentiful, personal data! Google is a datavore; its reason to exist is to organize all the world’s data, using ads to fund its habit. And on the table before them, a feast unprecedented in depth and variety! Imagine the amount of data produced by a single day of Facebook’s operations. But, like Tantalus, Google is prohibited from reaching and and taking it even though it’s right… there.
Why did Google launch a social network? The same reason a child snatches a cookie from the cookie jar. They simply couldn’t resist.
He goes on to argue that Google+ should have only been +1 buttons. That would get Google the data and also provide a user benefit:
It could easily be tied to other actions, since once you +1 the thing, Google doesn’t really care what happens next. You could forget you ever did it. Or you could tie it to actions like posting or liking it on Facebook, or sending it to your Tumblr, or tweeting it. Whatever you want. It’s just a trigger you pull on a website — what happens after you pull the trigger doesn’t matter to Google, all they care about is that the trigger was pulled in the first place.
Oh, and don’t forget that everything you’ve +1′d will be saved to your profile – you can go and check it any time you want, by date, by site, whatever. Why, it could even have a little snippet or image for each one, or you could add a tag or caption; you could even do that right when you +1 it.
I want this service that he describes: A searchable stash of awesome, shareable stuff.
A public pile of data I can call my own, with my notes, that can be shared with anyone on the Web.
Here's the essence of the opportunity that Google+ missed by jumping the gun:
They might have built an Internet-wide community of individuals who want to track, save, and share what they do on the web.
They’d also have a simple way of letting users connect to one another in a natural and very Internet way.
And they’d have done it all without antagonizing anyone openly; it could plug right into other services.
I dream of a community of hundreds of millions people stashing things they find on the Web, reading updates from people with the same interests, chatting and sharing seamlessly.
Maybe someday. Whether Google+ or someone else who appreciates the open, public Web.
I still don't see why anyone would +1 anything. Once in a while I do it accidentally during a Google search, and I always turn it off right away. And Google Profile? When even narcissists don't bother to check what's on it, you know it's not a destination.
What if +1 meant "Stash this, with some context from me"?
Then you'd be very interested in it!